Godwin Izilein, former coach of the Super Falcons, passes away at the age of 81

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Godwin Izilein, a former international footballer and esteemed coach of the Super Falcons, has passed away at the age of 81 in Benin, Edo State.

According to a family member who preferred anonymity, Izilein succumbed to abdominal issues on Wednesday, marking the end of an era in Nigerian football.

During his illustrious career, Izilein steered the Super Falcons to victory, leading them to clinch their sixth Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) title in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2004. His leadership and mentorship were instrumental in shaping the success of the team on the continental stage.

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Beyond his contributions to the national team, Izilein made significant impacts at the grassroots level, coaching local clubs such as NNB FC and Bendel Insurance. His dedication to nurturing football talent, both male and female, earned him widespread respect and admiration throughout Nigeria.

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Kehinde Osagiede, the media officer of Bendel Insurance, expressed deep sorrow at Izilein’s passing, describing him as a coach who devoted himself to the development of football in the country. Osagiede recalled Izilein’s unwavering commitment to his players and his tireless efforts in shaping the future of Nigerian football.

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In a poignant interview with PUNCH in June 2023, Izilein lamented the unpaid dues owed to him by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) since 2004, following the Falcons’ WAFCON victory. Despite promises made by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Izilein revealed that he had yet to receive the $12,000 and N2 million owed to him.

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The football community mourns the loss of Godwin Izilein, whose legacy as a coach and mentor will continue to inspire future generations of footballers in Nigeria.

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