All roads will lead to Benin City, Edo State, on Friday, August 9, 2013 as relations, friends, colleagues and sport lovers will gather at St Mathias Anglican Church, Sapele Road, to pay their last respects to John Okoro, a former member of the then Green Eagles, now Super Eagles, as he is committed to mother earth.
Until his demise on Monday, July 8, 2013, he was the president of the Nigerian Private University Games Association, NPUGA, and director of sports, Igbinedion University, Benin City. He used to play for the defunct Police Machine Team of Lagos between 1966 and 1972, and was a member of the Green Eagles between 1970 and 1972. Okoro was also the captain of the Midwest Team from 1967 to 1970. He was awarded the “Best Sportsman of the Year” in the then Midwestern State of Nigeria in 1973.
A sports administrator par excellence, Okoro was the athletics coach to Nigerian University Games Association, NUGA, team to the World University Games held in Edmonton, Canada, where the country’s representatives won five gold medals. Okoro was also the coach of the victorious University of Benin, UNIBEN, contingent to the 1982 NUGA games, which was hosted by Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The late Justice of Peace, who held a doctorate in Physical Education and Sports Studies awarded by University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, in November 1987, was an associate lecturer at the Department of Health and Physical Education at the University of Benin, between 1996 and 1999.
NPUGA, in a statement signed by Akintunde Akinola and David Ayeni, acting president and secretary-general of the association respectively, described its founding father as a great democratic leader, a lover of humanity, very accommodating, hospitable, frank and fun-loving. The association saw the passage of the veteran sportsman as a colossal loss to the nation and the sports community, but was consoled by the legacies that Okoro left behind.