From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has mourned the passing of the former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Kashimawo Laloko.
Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, on Monday, said the death of the seasoned football administrator would no doubt leave a gap in football administration, not only in Nigeria but in the world.
Laloko died on Saturday at the Sacred Hearts Catholic Hospital, Abeokuta at the age of 76.
The Ogun governor in the statement declared that the late Laloko, who was the Olori Parakoyi of Egbaland, would always remain in the hearts of Nigerians for his passion for discovery and nurturing local football talents into international fame.
He added that his Football College at Orile-Imo, where education is blended with football, served as model to other football academies, which had produced champions, particularly at the age grade soccer competition.
The governor commiserated with his immediate family members, Egbaland, Ogun State, Nigeria, Africa and the world, on the death of Laloko, who he described as one of the finest football administrators Nigeria has produced.
While saying that the Nigeria football family will miss Laloko for his technical know-how of the game of football, Abiodun noted that the Egbaland and Ogun will equally miss his frank and candid opinions on issues of national interest, especially in the round leather game.
‘Chief Laloko’s death is not only a blow to the Egbaland and Ogun State, his death will create a serious gap in Nigerian football family, particularly in the area of developmental and grassroots soccer.
‘His Football College at Orile Imo, which was an offshoot of the Pepsi Football Academy, has produced many youngsters who put Nigeria on the global map of football. Until his death, he was an advocate of hiring local coaches for our international football teams, while his passion for ‘local contents’ in our teams was well known and acknowledged.
‘Apart from football administration, late Chief Laloko also distinguished himself in the area of commerce, trade and industry. This culminated into his installation as the Olori Parakoyi of Egbaland.
‘On behalf of the Ogun State Government, I commiserate with the immediate family of the football icon, Egbaland and indeed, our dear state.
‘We pray that God grant his soul a rest and prepare a great place for him in paradise.
‘Adieu Chief Laloko, Adieu Mr Football,’ the statement concluded.