• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Remembering Footballer Kazeem Tiyamiyu

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Following the death of footballer Kazeem Tiyamiyu, many questions remain unanswered about the talented Nigerian. Soccer fans around the country were left wondering what happened to a player many predicted would be a star in European football and the Nigerian national team.

Tiyamiyu was laid to rest in February 2020 but his club sparked controversy by suggesting the player was killed due to police brutality. This revelation was a contradiction to the official report, which says he was killed in a hit and run collision.

Many predicted Tiyamiyu would go far in the world of professional football. He was playing in defense for second division team Remo Stars when he was killed. Most commentators in Nigeria said he was close to being signed for a major European football club.

Seen as the pinnacle of the sport, European football would have been a platform for Tiyamiyu to grow his skills. People in the country are always looking at different betting opportunities in Nigeria and Tiyamiyu playing in a European league would have stirred interest in betting markets in the country.

21-year-old Tiyamiyu was buried in a traditional white shroud and under the customs of the Muslim religion.

“We lit up Kazeem Tiyamiyu (Kaka)’s path to Al-Jannah last night and he was buried today at his family house in Ajaka, Sagamu, Ogun State,” Remo Stars announced at the time.

Questions were quickly raised about the circumstances leading to Tiyamiyu’s deaths. The story made headlines in Nigeria and many people were angered by the situation. The player was in a vehicle being detained by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) force when he was pushed from the van by officers and hit by an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle failed to stop.

Protest marches erupted following Tiyamiyu’s death and a further two fatalities were reported at these marches. People protested against SARS and its record of human rights abuse.

“No father wants to bury his son and this is heartbreaking for my family because Kazeem was on the verge of travelling to Europe for trial,” Fasasi, the father of the late footballer told BBC Sport.

“What happened, why was he killed and how does a family recover from this. These are the questions no one can answer.”

According to authorities in Nigeria, action will be taken if officers are found guilty of brutality towards Tiyamiyu.

“The FCID took over the case few days ago and we’ve commenced investigation into the incident,” Nigerian Police spokesperson Frank Mba told BBC Sport.

“Investigation is still ongoing and our pledge to Nigerians is that we will keep the process transparent and accountable.

“But I also think we should wait for processes to be completed so that we don’t give information back and forth.”

While no-one will ever know what Tiyamiyu’s trajectory in the world of football would have been, many predict he was heading for stardom. In fact, people in Nigeria believed he could follow the likes of Odion Ighalo or Jay Jay Okocha and one day play at the pinnacle of the sport.