“Mathematical Segun Odegbami” Nigeria’s first national football star

“Mathematical Odegbami” Nigeria’s first national football star

Odegbami was born on 27 August 1952 in Lagos, Nigeria to Jacob Adebola Odegbami (1911–2003) and Beatrice Bintu Abeke Odegbami (née Olotu) (1921–2018), one of their seven children. His father was an older half-brother of Nigerian author Amos Tutuola. Odegbami was brought up in the northern city of Jos, Plateau State along with many other members of his extended family

Segun Odegbami won 46 caps and scored 23 goals for the Nigeria national team which he guided to its first Africa Cup of Nations title at the 1980 tournament in his homeland. Nicknamed Mathematical, he was famous for his skill on the ball, speed and precision of his crosses from the right wing. He played for IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan his entire career, from 1970 to 1984. His last game was the 1984 African Champions Cup final defeat to Zamalek of Egypt. The original source of the nickname "Mathematical" was because Segun Odegbami attended and graduated from Nigeria's premier technical institution; The Polytechnic, Ibadan where he studied engineering.

In 2007 Odegbami appeared on Nigerian Who Wants To Be A Millionaire hosted by Frank Edoho. He played a game for charity with Zebrudaya and donated his winnings to The Little Saints’ Orphanage on the Strong Tower Mission.

In September 2015, Odegbami stated his intention to run for FIFA presidency.

In June 2022, he launched a radio station called Eagles 7 Sports Radio 103.7 FM in Nigeria.

Odegbami has a daughter who sings under the name May7ven.
In this exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Odegbami revealed he actually had offers to play abroad but failed to follow them through. He Said: 

"One John Mastoroudes wanted me to go to Panathinaikos in Greece, when we went to Brazil for three months camping for the 1980 Nations Cup in 1979, we played against the team Fluminense in Brazil. Their president wanted me to come and play in Brazil. When we were playing in Shooting Stars, I had an offer to play in Jamaica of all places. Chief Lekan Salami held on to the offer letter, he didn’t show me until after the thing had passed."

"But the one that most people know about… they don’t even know about is that Mr Kojo Alakija who was the team manager of the national team at that time arranged for me to go to Tottenham Hotspurs and I actually left, he gave me a ticket, I had other tickets in my bag, I was a very comfortable person in Nigeria. I had five cars in my house at that time, I was building my first house in Ibadan, I was a distributor for cement, beer, Coca-Cola and I was setting up my restaurant and so on in Ibadan. So, I was doing very well and the Pound was equal to the Naira, the currencies were equal. At that time even if you travel, you’ll come back with change, and put it in your pocket. So, life was very comfortable and the exposure that players have now, we didn’t have it there.

Matches were not shown live every week, you’ll watch one premiership match a week and it was on delay transmission, it was the match of the week. The World was different at that time, so, I actually went to London, went to Tunde Fagbenle, the journalist, and went to his house, to stay there so that I could wake up to go for my trials in Tottenham. That night, he took us out, we went to the empire board room with a late friend, Rufus Orisayomi and we went drinking and dancing, by the time we came back the following day, this Tottenham thing did not come to my head anymore. It was not as if I was too keen, because, in Nigeria, I was like a mini-god, the football was fantastic, anywhere you played, you were a hyper star. Than for me to go to Europe and be an unknown star at that time. So, that was how I wasted that opportunity, I didn’t bother to go there anymore, from there I spent my time, enjoyed myself, spent a few weeks before I came back to Nigeria"

Segun Odegbami is still doing well today.

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