Segun Odegbami Speaks Out On Moscow Olympics

Prolific striker SEGUN ODEGBAMI (7) from FC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, who was a teammate of 1980 American Soccer League champion striker Christian Nwokocha of the Pennsylvania Stoners during NIGERIA’s effort to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, scored 23 goals in 46 full international matches for the Green Eagles in a career that spanned from 1970 until 1984.

“Montreal was very different from communist Russia (the Soviet Union). The atmosphere was totally different. Where you eat, sleep and feel freedom in Montreal, Moscow was so secretive everything was done in fear. You didn’t know who was watching you.

In Canada you could move freely but in Moscow even to get in the Games village (for athletes) there was all kinds of gadgets and security gates.

Even within your room there were all kinds of restrictions as to what you could do. You couldn’t plug your tape recorder into the light socket. We were told everyone was being seriously watched.

It really was like being in prison …”


SEGUN ODEGBAMI was a member of the Nigeria Olympic football team that traveled to North America for the Montreal Summer Games in 1976 but ending up boycotting the athletic event at the last minute. The player known as “Mathematical” because of his formal university training as an engineer in addition to a high technical level of skill counted two goals when Nigeria blanked Algeria 3-0 in the Final of the African Cup of Nations in March of 1980, just four months ahead of the Moscow Summer Games. The Green Eagles goal-scorer recalled his time in the Soviet Union in an article, “My Olympic Moment – Segun Odegbami”, appearing at the official website of the Nigeria Olympic Committee :


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