22nd January, 2014
Coach of former First Bank and Union Bank Football Club, Taofeek Balogun Etti, has appealed to the Lagos State Government, sports philanthropists and the general public to come to his aid as his sight predicament gets worse by the days.
Coach Etti is battling to restore his sight since the problem started in 1998. The former goalkeeper who featured for many clubs across the country, including the Defence City FC of Lagos, the “Iddo Tigers”, Lagos City Council Football Club, the “City Counselors”, Ibadan “Lions of the West” and others narrated how he sustained an injury in his left eye in the mid seventies during a match in a local competition, the Oba Cup between his club, Leventis and the then ECN FC of Lagos (now NEPA) at Lagos City Stadium, Onikan.
“A free kick was awarded to ECN’s Kenneth Olayombo who took the spot kick which beat the wall of defence of my team and hit my eye when I was trying to save the shot.
“The accident halted the proceedings and I was carried off the pitch to a nearby hospital in Lagos for treatment. I cannot remember the name of the hospital again but I was treated for one week and later, I was discharged from the hospital,” said Coach Etti in an interview at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
“After I was discharged from the hospital, I went on to continue my playing career but finally retire in 1975 and went into coaching. The first major club that I handled as a football coach was my club, the “Iddo Tigers and later, Leventis FC”. I left Leventis to Union Bank FC in Lagos. From there, I went on to handle First Bank FC, also of Lagos.
“When I got to First Bank FC, players like Fatai Amoo, Lukman Osun, and others had been sent back to the office, but I brought them back. However, I spent only two seasons with the First Bank FC before Union Bank FC came back to take me away from the Elephant boys’ camp. During my second spell at Union Bank FC, I nurtured the team to win the Oba Cup Soccer Championship for the first time.
“When the old wound in my eyes re-opened in 2008, the management of Union Bank FC gave me some money and later took me to a Lagos hospital at Igbosere for treatment. A scan of my defect eyes was done at St. Mary Catholic Eye Hospital at Ologunebi Lane, off Ijesha road, Ago-Iwoye. The scan revealed that one 01of my eye had gone completely. Soon afterwards, I have spent over N2 million for the treatment of my eyes without success.
“My major problem now is how to regain my sight if not fully. It is so painful that I cannot watch football matches again or even see people around me,” the 68 years old former goalkeeper painfully explained.
According to him, friends, good Samaritans and his children are the ones responsible for his feeding because he is unable to do anything with the present condition.
“I am pleading to all Nigerians for financial assistance,” he said.