By Arukaino Umukoro
It was a warm reunion for former Nigeria footballers Sunday Oliseh and Taribo West at the Soccerex Seminar held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos last Friday.
The duo, who both represented Nigeria at the World Cup in 1998, were the cynosure of eyes as they hugged and chatted like two long lost friends at the end of one of the numerous sessions held at the seminar.
Oliseh had just emerged from a gruelling interview session conducted by erudite football journalist Osasu Obayiuwana when he ran into the former defender. With his back to the door, West did not know who was nudging him from behind until he turned round to see it was his former captain.
Time seemed to pause as seminar participants watched in delight as they gave each other repeated bear hugs that lingered in the memory and traded banter like long lost friends.
Oliseh, the classy and hugely-talented midfielder, West the defender extraordinaire - both were an integral part of a Super Eagles generation that brimmed with class everywhere. Indeed, they were a golden generation.
I had earlier met West, who is now a pastor. I shook hands with him and joked “Pastor, I would like a prayer of blessing, sir.”
He laughed and said “You’re blessed,” with a hand wave as if he were the Pope.
The two players played in the gold medal winning squad at the 1996 Olympics, arguably Nigeria's greatest moment in international football.
It was a pleasure to have met both of them.
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