Friends, Nigeria b’ball family gather for departed ref Razak

Pius Ayinor

Friends and members of the Nigeria basketball family gathered on Sunday at the Ilupeju Basketball Court in Lagos to celebrate the life and time of late referee, Razak ‘Slims’ Okedeyi, reports.

The FIBA listed referee died on Thursday, July 23 after a very brief and sudden illness. The referee had impacted a lot of people running a basketball academy and coupled with his deep professional way of officiating basketball matches across the country.

Few hours after his death, the Nigeria Basketball Federation has said that “it received with shock the death” of the referee.

FIBA certified referee and coordinator of the Nigerian Basketball Referees Council, Kingsley Ojeaburu told the media that Okedeyi died shortly after complaining of a severe headache.

The NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida described the news of ‘Slims’ as shocking and very difficult to comprehend.

He said, “I am just speechless. Imagine a young chap who was about to start his journey in life as a man just suddenly dying. Who are we to question in this situation or how are we going to describe this?

 “This year has been tough on us all. From the death of loved ones, some stakeholders and the lockdown and suspension of all sporting activities occasioned by Covid-19, year 2020 has been a very difficult year.”

NBBF’s Vice President Babs Ogunade described Okedeyi’s death as a great blow to the basketball family.

He said the referee had anchored a recent online South West Zonal Referees training programme and was preparing the coaches’ training module.

Razak who until his death was a member of the Nigerian Basketball Referees Council and was also the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Lagos State Referees Council as well as the founder and Head Coach of Flygerian Basketball Academy in Lagos.