Nigeria’s 1976 Olympic Team, 1980 AFCON Squad To Be Honoured At Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame

The Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame will pay tribute to the distinguished members of Nigeria’s 1976 Montreal Olympic team and the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations Green Eagles squad. This grand event is set to take place on Friday, July 28, 2023, at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of the historic Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on the same day. This remarkable initiative is the brainchild of Segun Odegbami, the legendary Green Eagles winger, 1980 AFCON winner, and member of the 1976 Montreal Olympic football team.

The event will be proudly sponsored by Allen Onyema, the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace. As a token of appreciation and respect, the sports heroes will also be named Air Peace Ambassadors and will receive exclusive benefits from the airline. These benefits include 12 complimentary return tickets on domestic routes annually, one international flight to any of Air Peace’s foreign destinations, and a special cash reward that will be announced at the gala event.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo will chair the unveiling of the Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame at the NIIA, while the investiture of the Air Peace Sports Diplomacy Ambassadors at Eko Hotel will be under the chairmanship of Mr. Hans Essaadi, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Limited.

This historic event is expected to be graced by esteemed dignitaries from the sports world, including Filbert Bayi, a former Tanzanian middle-distance runner and one of Africa’s greatest athletes in history, and Ron Freeman, an African-American legendary former sprinter and Olympic Gold and Bronze medalist.

Other notable attendees will include Allasanne Thierno Diack, the CEO of OlympAfrica, and Dr. Biki Minyuku, a radical political scholar, historian, cultural and social activist from South Africa.

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The Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame will immortalize the names of these sports heroes by inscribing them in gold. This recognition not only acknowledges their outstanding contributions to Nigerian sports but also serves as a testament to their enduring legacy.

The 1976 Montreal Athletics Team, comprising esteemed athletes such as Kolawole Abdullahi, Ruks Bazunu, and Edward Ofili, among others, will be honored for their remarkable achievements in various track and field events.

Similarly, the 1976 Montreal Olympic Football Team, led by the legendary Segun Odegbami, will be celebrated for their exceptional performance and resilience. Odegbami’s two goals against the Algerians in the final match secured Nigeria’s first of three AFCON titles.

Furthermore, the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations Team, which brought glory to Nigeria by clinching the prestigious title, will also be revered. The team, led by coach Otto Gloria, included notable players like Christian Chukwu, Felix Owolabi, and Kadiri Ikhana, among others.

The recognition and celebration of these athletes not only serve to honor their achievements but also remind us of the pivotal role they played in Nigeria’s sports history. Moreover, their participation in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games led to the African boycott of the games, which ultimately contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa and the release of Nelson Mandela.

The Sports Diplomacy Wall of Fame stands as a testament to the power of sports in shaping history, fostering unity, and promoting diplomacy. It is a fitting tribute to the indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication of Nigeria’s sports legends.

This article was originally published on Sporty9ja.

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