4 YEARS SO SOON! On the 30th of June 2013, football lovers woke up with the rude shock on the demise of this midfield maestro Thompson Oliha. I was privileged to watch this midfielder in the glory years of the Nigerian league where he starred for home team Bendel Insurance FC. Thompson was regarded as a "General" and words fail me at this moment to describe the magic he did with the ball. It was often thought in those years that he knew the language of football as the ball respects his commands on the field of play.
Oliha would cut his teeth and become a major actor in the better forgotten Flying Eagles team to Chile in 1987. Despite their early exit from the competition, Thompson Oliha,Etim Esin,Adeolu Adekola,Nosa Osadolo,Ikponmwosa Omoregie and John Ene Okon were promoted to the already star studded Super Eagles team even before they landed from Santiago. Only @etimesin_10 and Oliha will eventually claim their shirt in the Eagles and went on to form the fulcrum of the new Super Eagles.
Thompson Oliha was part of the Westerhof neophytes which went to represent Nigeria at the Algiers 90 AFCON with players like Uche Okechukwu,Ben Iroha,Alloy Agu,Daniel Amokachi,Emma Okocha,Hurbert Anijekwu,Isaac Semitoje et al. While the likes of Andrew Uwe,Rashidi Yekini and Ademola Adeshina were the veterans. Thompson would represent Nigeria again at AFCON 92 in Senegal and the all conquering AFCON 94 squad which he was a major actor. He won Silver,Bronze and Gold in that order for Nigeria. He would represent Nigeria at first World cup finals in USA94 where he played his last match for Nigeria against Italy.
Thompson played for Bendel Insurance Fc Benin and Iwuanyanwu National in the home front and joined then Ivorian giants Africa sports. He later played for Aroni Ashdod in Israel and Antalayaspor in Turkey where he hung his boots. Westerhof once had this to say about him "You know why I always play Oliha? 120 minutes,Not tired" Oliha played for Nigeria 32 times scoring 2 goals. He died at the age of 44. Continue to rest on. "GENERAL" #supereagles #nigerianfootball #usa94 #afconwinner #caf #africasport #9japikin #thankgoditsfriday