Football Tragedy in Calabar: My daughter was a football lover who died for football

The 14-year-old Blessing Okon Udo stepped into the viewing centre in Nyaghasang Community in Calabar on Thursday to watch Manchester United host Anderlecht in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League, not knowing it would be her last endeavour on earth.

She an ardent Manchester United fan, who loved playing football. Sadly, Blessing lost her life to a sport so close to her heart.

Father of the deceased, Okon Udo, tearfully narrated what happened: “I was away for work. When I came back, I understood there was a problem.

“From the information I heard, I heard 30 persons had died. I was rushing to see what had happened.

“All of a sudden I saw my daughter among the victims so I had to rush her to the hospital and she was certified dead.

“Her death is a big loss. I urge Manchester United, the government and all relevant agencies to help families of those affected by the incident.”

Recalling Blessing’s love for the game, he said: “She was a football lover. She even played football and I did not know she used to go there and watch football.

“This incident was the first time I knew she came here to watch football. She was a student at Holy Family Secondary School. She was in SS3 and was going to write her WAEC.”

On her part, Mrs Elizabeth Alex Samuel, a mum of a thirteen-month-old baby, whose husband died in the incident, said: “Everyday, I warned him not to watch football in that viewing centre.

“That night, he went to watch football. The next thing I heard shouting and they said people have died. I was waiting I did not see him. I hear they had rushed him to the hospital. I was crying throughout. It was yesterday (Friday) they came and told me that my husband was dead.

“He was a dispatch rider. He was in his 30s. I am 28 years old and our baby is thirteen months old.

“I call on whoever can help to come and help. My husband was my helper in all aspects of my life.

“Now that he has died I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have anything doing. I am begging for help from everyone who can help us.”

Another woman, Mrs. Felicia Edeta mother of two children, aged 19 and 29, whose husband died in the incident, was too stunned to speak. The reality is too much for her to take. How sad!