A lot of us were told this story while growing up in Nigeria. The infamous story of how the Indian national football team was leading Nigeria 99-0 in a football match, and they were ready to accept defeat if only Nigeria could score just a goal.
According to the story; the match ball will turn to a stone or lion whenever the Indians want to shoot at Nigeria’s goal post. So, the Nigerian goalkeeper would always scamper for safety by running away from the goal post thereby allowing the Indians to score so many goals that was up to 99.
The matchball will also turn to stone whenever Nigerian players are in possession of the ball thereby making it difficult for them to do anything reasonable with the ball, but Sam Okwaraji reportedly set his life on the line when he controlled the stone disguised as ball with his chest and put in one goal for Nigeria who were already losing by 99 goals already.
Okwaraji won the match for Nigeria by just scoring that one goal because the Indian had boasted that they can’t concede even a goal, and if Nigeria could score just one goal that means they (Nigerians) have won the match.
Sam Okwaraji heroics gave Nigeria the victory despite the scoreline, but it came at the expense of his life after he controlled that ball with his chest, and that was what led to his death according to the bed-time stories we were told many years ago.
The whole story about India leading us 99-0 because the ball was turning into a lion was false. The untold truth of the matter was that Sam Okwaraji actually died on the pitch but wasn’t on a match against India but Angola. Sam Okwaraji slumped and died on the pitch due to heart related problems.