Nigerian senior national team great, Chief Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, has been honoured with the Global Academic Excellence Award by dignified Non-Governmental Organization, Academic Excellence Initiative (AEI).
AEI is an NGO that empower youths educationally.
The distinguished non-profit organization provide avenue for young ones to enhance their individual potentials for societal development.
Every year, the organization put together Annual Academic Excellence Award/Scholars’ Day.
The award conferred on Chief Odegbami in this year’s programme, is for his uncommon contribution to academic excellence in Nigeria through his learning centre – the International College and Sports Academy (SOCA).
In a letter signed by AEI Project Coordinator, Prince Adesegun Ogungbayi and exclusively seen by Top Media Nigeria, addressed to the legendary sportsman, AEI states:
“We are honouring you as the known number one sport hero that has officially linked academics to sports in Nigeria thereby assuring youths and parents that sports cannot derail students as it seemed in the past.”
Odegbami, 65, was born in the ancient city of Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Nicknamed ‘Mathematical’, the ex-player is regarded as one of the greatest Nigerian athletes of all-time.
Odegbami had an illustrious footballing career in the 70s and 80s, representing Nigeria at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada (boycotted by African countries on the eve) and leading Nigeria to the Moscow Olympics in 1980. In between, he represented Nigeria at the 1978 All Africa Games, two African Cup of Nations championships (1978 and 1980) and the ECOWAS Games in 1977. In 1976, with Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan, Odegbami won Nigeria’s first continental club trophy, the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup. In 1978, he was third in the Africa Cup of Nations. He was a Silver medallist at the All-African games too, as well as winning the African Cup of Nations in 1980.
On individual level, Odegbami was named Third-best player in 1977, and second-best player in Africa in 1980. In 1998, during the World Cup in France, African journalists voted him for the FIFA/MasterCard Award as one of the 50 best African players of the 20th century. An Engineer by training, Odegbami holds a national honour of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, MON, and was made a Sports Ambassador in 1998.
Also, he is an inductee into the country’s Sports Hall of Fame.
In the aspects of his life beyond football that informed AEI honouring him, Odegbami’s educational project at Waasimi Orile in Ogun State, is Nigeria’s first multi-sports, fully-fledged, co-educational secondary school.
The institution, established in November 2007 is slowly becoming the dream laboratory of learning and a centre for training in sport(s) where specially identified and selected children with passion for sport, willing to combine their passion with a sound education find the perfect platform.
Thus, AEI celebrates an excellent man, who provide an excellent platform, for excellence in Academics and talent development.
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