Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


Remembering Coach Sabara: A Reflection on Honor and Recognition in Nigerian Sports

Coach Brodericks popularly called Sabara was one of the players that represented Nigeria at the 1968 Olympics. He later became the national coach of the male players that won the FIFA/Kodak U-17 World Cup in China in 1985. Like the scriptural saying that there is a time to be born and a time to die, Sabara was at a time born, he ran the race of life, finished running his sporting race and has now gone to be with the Lord.

Burials remind the living what to expect when they join those in heavenly places. The burial of Coach Sebastian Brodericks was not an exception. The burial sent me on a journey of thoughts on how we sometimes treat those who, at one time or another, toiled to represent this country at the highest level.

When Sabara died, I expected such a man of history to be worthy of a state burial. That did not happen. I also expected high-profiled ranking Nigerians within the sporting arena to turn up to bid him a final farewell in style and say, “Thank you for what you did for Nigeria.” It also did not happen.

But if some government officials, who perhaps did not add value to Nigeria during their services apart from looting the treasury dry and sometimes unknown beyond the shores of Nigeria, die, high-caliber Federal Government and many state officials would attend the burial in droves. Why not in Sabara’s case?

Maybe I am naive not to have known that state burials are reserved for only a handful of people.

The optics need to change regardless of how I feel about service, compensation, and recognition.

As a country, we must be deliberate in honoring citizens with patriotic zest. In line with my thoughts on celebrating people, I thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for gifting land to the Super Eagles and conferring national honors on them for being the runners-up in the just concluded AFCON.

We, the citizens, also have a role to play in investing in our evening. While still alive and to stay healthy, let us do what is expected of us in our roles in the service in the nation without thinking of what the country should offer us. Banking on what the nation will do, or not do for us may cause a part of our health to diminish.

We should also strive to train our children, invest in people, and invest in our evening so that when death knocks, we shall not be full of regrets and unhappiness because the country or the organization we served had not been kind enough to us.

Good night, Sabara. Grace and peace!!!