BEVERLY HILLS, July 31, (THEWILL) – Former Super Eagles coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, says the late Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun remains the best footballer to have come out of the country.
Today is the 48th year anniversary of the death of Balogun who died in his sleep in 1972.
THEWILL recalls that Balogun was the first Nigerian to play professional football in England after he signed for Peterborough in 1949 and also had stints with Queens Park Rangers.
Onigbinde, who was a former FIFA and CAF Instructor, reminiscing about the days of the soccer legend stressed that he was the best from Nigeria.
He said: “The greatest footballer Nigeria has ever produced was Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun. There is no doubt about it.
“As a footballer, he did many things players before his time, those of his time and after and even years to come did not do and have not been able to do with the ball.”
The former Super Eagles coach also recalls that the greatest goal he had ever witnessed was when the late footballer scored a brilliant goal for Nigeria (UK Tourists) against England in 1968.
“The greatest goal scored by any player I have seen was scored by ‘Thunder’ Balogun at the Olu Ibadan Stadium in 1968 in the match between the UK Tourists and England.
“The English players were always on him each time he received the ball. To beat the pressure off, ‘Thunder’ stood outside the 18-yard box with his back turned at the England goalkeeper.
The former Trinidad and Tobago coach further stated that, “the story of ‘Thunder’ Balogun will never die. For those of us who watched him play, we saw him as Nigeria’s greatest footballer.”
“He died in his sleep on July 30, 1972 at the relatively young age of 45 years, but the heroics of Thunder Balogun live forever.”
THEWILL reports that Balogun won the Nigerian FA Cup five times in seven final appearances and was the first player to score a hat-trick in the FA Cup final.
For his outstanding contributions, the Lagos State government owned stadium in Surulere, Teslim Balogun Stadium, was named after him.