The former Chief Coach of the Nigeria Senior National Soccer team, the Super Eagles, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has praised the late wife of Nigeria’s most celebrated soccer player in the history of football in the country, Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun, Alhaja Mulikat Balogun, as the family gets together to mark her 25th anniversary today May 25, 2023.
Onigbinde who spoke in Ibadan said that it was the late Alhaja Mulikat that motivated her late husband, to become Nigeria’s greatest soccer player and indeed a hero figure that he became nationwide.
Onigbinde was Nigeria’s first football coach to handle a Nigerian senior national soccer team to the FIFA World Cup finals in Japan/ Korea 2002.
The former Shooting Stars Sports of Ibadan Chief coach added that, in some of the matches he watched ‘Thunder’ Balogun played in his active international days, his wife Mulikat, in fact, took it as a ritual to encourage her husband to score winning goals in crucial matches, before the kick-off of such games.
This enabled ‘Thunder’ Balogun spread his name nationally and even to the diaspora.
Thunder put in extra efforts that distinguished him in all the games he played before he retired from active football.
Onigbinde, said, it is on record that, it was Madam Mulikat who ensured he returned to Nigeria to continue his football career when he first rejected the plea of then Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, on recall 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 Soccer League, playing for Queens Park Rangers Football Club 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.
Chief Adegboye Onigbinde stressed that looking into the future, Alhaja Mulikat was the one who advised her husband to form a number of youth clubs in Lagos for the development of football in Nigeria, this formed the background of the foundation of new football teams in Nigeria.