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Nigeria’s anti-racism hero Akeem Omolade found dead in Italy

Former Nigeria striker Akeem Omolade has been found dead in his friend’s car in Italy. He was 39.

Omolade, who left Nigeria in 1999 to join Italian side Treviso at the age of 17, was a symbol of the fight against racism in Italy.

Reports say it is not yet clear what caused the death of the player, but according to initial checks, no injuries emerged.

Omolade had had to leave Serie A due to a bad injury. In recent days he had been suffering from severe pains in his leg.

Based on what his family claims, he had no particular pathologies or major health problems.

“For a few days he had suffered from a pain in his leg and had gone to check-ups at the hospital on June 3, June 8 and June 12, but he did not receive a definitive response,” a report said.

“On the morning of June 13, he had to undergo a new check-up at the Polyclinic but the pain had increased and he could not walk and he had been picked up by a friend.

“But as soon as he got into the car, Omolade fell ill. The friend immediately called for help but there was nothing to be done,” the report said.

“He was very well liked,” the report continued. “He was a person always available. Omolade has done a lot of good in recent years. These days he was fatigued and had pains in his leg.”

Omolade, who played for First Bank in Nigeria before leaving for Europe, was an anti-racism hero in Treviso.

“He fought racism. He’s a legend,” his friend and former teammate Matthew Olorunleke exclusively told Omasports, following the news of his death.

“The town which he was was Treviso and they never wanted any black player,” Olorunleke said. “This guy broke into the first team and this people were revolting – they never wanted him. But because of his tenacity the coach brought him to the first team.

“The teammates had to paint their faces to allow him play” – in solidarity for the Nigerian.

Omolade played at Treviso for a year before joining Torino in 2001. He would play for other Italian sides, including Reggiana and Mazara, where he made his final league appearance in 2014.

While playing football, Omolade had worked as a translator in court. After his career, he remained in Palermo and for a few years worked in musical events.

Olorunleke disclosed that Omolade had plans of becoming a coach, saying he wanted to “give back to the people.”

“The last time we spoke he said I should give him an advice on coaching,” Olorunleke told Omasports. “He said he wants to give back to the people. This was some months ago.”

An autopsy has been arranged to clarify the causes of death.

The carabinieri are investigating and the prosecutor has ordered an autopsy to try to clarify the causes of death. The player’s body has been taken to the forensic medicine institute of the Polyclinic hospital.

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