What caused the Teslim Balogun death we all kept hearing and talking about?
There have been many great footballers who have graced the Nigerian football team, but Tesilimi Olawale Ayinde was one that stood out of the crowd.
More recognized as Teslim Balogun, the 6ft, 2″ tall striker, was more than a player and was a bridge between European football and Nigerian players.
For a man who played during the time where blacks were barely given a chance to play at the highest level, Balogun was a Nigerian torchbearer who proved to home locals that they could break into Europe and stamp a legacy.
Before coming to England, he was already a Nigerian sensation who had already earned the nickname Thunder and Balinga due to his fiery, powerful shots.
Breaking into the U.K, he was signed to Pittsburgh, but after spending a season and not having any appearance, he was signed by Queen Parks Rangers Football Club.
He was the club’s second black player after Tommy Best and the first African player to wear the shirt. He scored 3 goals in all of his 13 appearances, with one of his goals coming in his debut start, which ultimately ended as a 3-1 home win.
After his time with QPR, he returned to Nigeria, where he fought his way to become the coach of the Nigeria national team.
This feat made him the first-ever African qualified professional football coach.
As a coach, he was nicknamed “Baba ball”.
He led the Nigeria national team at the 1968 Summer Olympics
Teslim Balogun Death
Balogun died in his sleep on 30 July 1972.
His wife discovered him after she had gone to wake him up when she felt he had slept for too long. He was 45 when he passed on and had eight kids.
Balogun’s death has been a mystery, with very little information about it and what could have caused it.
According to an interview granted by his eldest son Kayode in 2013, he stated that his dad did not look ill on that fateful day and felt it was an unexpected way for a healthy man to die.
According to him, “I am sure that as a normal human being, he did not prepare to die so soon. Otherwise, he would have called us together and told us things we did not know about him.
“However, we grew up to know about his background better.
“My mother said he called her in the night, and they spoke about their life journey until around 2am when he eventually went to sleep.
“It was an unusual conversation, but there was nothing to suggest that he was spending his last night with the family.
“In the morning, she tried to wake him up, but he was gone. She called our family doctor, Dr.Olusanya, who confirmed that he was dead.
Kayode’sdescription of Balogun’s death is the most detailed info that has been established in the media.
He admitted that he was a kid at the time, and while he knew his dad was gone, he had to depend on his mum to narrate the event around him.
Kayode also stated that the Queen of England sent them a condolence letter.
A lot of things have been said concerning Balogun, especially in terms of his shooting prowess.
One common tale is the alleged thunderbolt that killed a goalkeeper by tearing his stomach open.
This tale has an atom of truth to it, but most of the storiesare obviously exaggerated.
Kayode revealed that his father did spill any goalkeeper guts open, but it was true that a goalie was at the receiving end of his father’s shot, which led to the former sustaining a serious injury.
He explained that due to inefficient treatments in the mid-1990s, the injury eventually led to the goalie’s death.
This was his statement on the issue “peoplesaid a lot of things about my father. Some of them are true, others false.
“Sometimes, I laugh after hearing some funny tales about my father. One of the funny tales is that of the goalkeeper who died after trying to stop my father’s shot.
“Well, the truth is that he did not tear his stomach with the shot.
“The goalkeeper had an injury trying to stop his shot, and because the medical facility at the time was not as efficient as we have today, he died of injury.
“But my father did not have the intention of killing the goalkeeper with the shot.
“It was a match, and he only tried to score for his side.”
Teslim Balogun was also among the first African players that played with bare foots both locally and internationally.
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Teslim Balogun Legacy
After his death, the Lagos State Government (who is the owner) began the construction of a stadium in his name in 1984, i.e the Teslim Balogun Stadium (located in Lagos), and was fully opened 24 years later in 2007.
The stadium now plays hosts to the First Bank football club and some other youth leagues.
Browse Teslim Balogun stadium pictures here.
A foundation also known as the Teslim Balogun Foundation was established after his death to serve as assistance for Nigerian ex-footballers who have fallen on hard times.
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So that’s all about the Teslim Balogun death you’ve been hearing about as well as the other fables too.