A former Super Eagles coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, has praised the late wife of one of Nigeria’s most celebrated footballers, Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun, Mulikat, as the family marks her 25th year anniversary Thursday (today).
Onigbinde said Mulikat played a major role in her late husband’s career and added that in some of the matches he watched Balogun play in his active days, his wife took it as a ritual to encourage her husband to score winning goals, before the kick-off of such games.
The coach, who led the Eagles to the 2002 World Cup, added that it was Mulikat who ensured Balogun returned to Nigeria to continue his football career when he first rejected the plea of then Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to help the West Rovers FC win the Challenge Cup, the biggest football competition in the country at the time.
The former FIFA and CAF Instructor disclosed that “this was a period ‘Thunder’ Balogun was midway into his career in the English Football League, playing for Queens Park Rangers FC in 1958. On his return, ‘Thunder’ helped West Rovers win the title in 1958 for the first time in history. His football excellence and artistry made the victory possible.”
Onigbinde stressed that looking into the future, Mulikat advised her husband to form a number of youth clubs in Lagos for the development of football in Nigeria, which he said formed the background of the foundation of new football teams in Nigeria.