The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday led the tributes in honour of Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) defender, Izu Joseph, who passed away on Sunday.
Izu, who wore the famous jersey no 24 for the Oluyole Warriors, died aged 24, after being hit by a stray bullet from the Nigerian Joint Task Force (JTF) in Bayelsa State.
The tough tackling defender joined 3SC from Bayelsa United in 2014 and made 30 appearances in his two seasons at the club.
“I am sorely distraught with what has happened,” NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said.
“It is a most unfortunate incident that has brought sorrow to the Nigeria football family, barely a week after we were celebrating victory in a World Cup qualifying match.
“What has happened is most painful. I want to appeal to our football players to always be mindful of the company they keep and the places they go at all times because they are special assets.
“At the end of the day, each and every one of us will die, but we don’t want to be losing football players in the manner in which Izu Joseph has died.”
Condolence messages also came from the League Management Company (LMC) and NPFL Champions, Enugu Rangers and others.
Sad news. We lost a colleague. Friend and NPFL mate.
RIP My Brother.
IZU JOSEPH Rest on! pic.twitter.com/iiYwP7ul9O
— Jamiu Alimi (@JamiuAlimi6) October 17, 2016
— The NFF (@thenff) October 17, 2016
Our sincerest thoughts are with @Official3SC and the family of Izu Joseph, May his soul rest in peace.
— Rangers Int. FC (@RangersIntFC) October 17, 2016
— League Management NG (@LMCNPFL) October 17, 2016
— Shooting Stars SC (@Official3SC) October 17, 2016
IZU JOSEPH family and @Official3SC should accept our condolences
Sad news. RIP A great defender
NPFL will miss you pic.twitter.com/jQllivJN8n
— SupportTheNPFL (@SupportTheNPFL) October 17, 2016
— El_Amariom Ohen (@ohenkay) October 17, 2016
— Rivers United FC (@RiversUnitedFC) October 18, 2016