The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), has taken to their official Twitter page to announce that a former National team midfielder, John Ene Okon, has passed on. It was gathered that the player died of liver problems at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar. John Okon until his death was the Chief Coach of Calabar Rovers FC. He died in the early hours of this morning, Tuesday, March 15-which was his birthday.
According to report, he underwent a CT scan last week at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. During his illness, the Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, had promised to use the state resources to ensure that adequate medical attention is given to the late Okon.
According to Cross River Watch, the Chairman of Cross River State Sports Commission, Orok Otu Duke, passed the Governor's message when Okon was in critically ill in the hospital.
The Chile 87 Flying Eagles star kicked off his career at the Acada United FC of UNICAL before playing for the likes of Rovers FC of Calabar, BCC Lions of Gboko and Akwa United of Uyo.
Okon who is regarded as one of the most highly decorated footballers from Cross River Stat, also played for the Super Eagles for a short time.
The player featured for Nigeria at the 1987 Fifa U-20 World Cup, the 1992 African Cup of Nations, and was the current coach of Calabar Rovers.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media for the humble late player with team mate, Etim Esin posting a message on his Facebook page saying it was indeed a sad news.
Emeka Ezeogu referred to the late player as a great midfielder: "Rest in Peace, soldier. May God rest his soul. Great midfielder. 1992 Nations’ Cup, Senegal. We’re gonna miss you, son. So long, soldier," he wrote.
Imama Amapakabo, the current Enugu Rangers coach, was full of words for the late player, saying he has lost a good friend. "Good friends we’ve had good friends we’ve lost, good times we’ve had good times we’ve shared together along d way, in this great I can’t forget the past.
“My tears run endless ever since the news broke to me early hours of this morning. We shared so many times and moments together, pained and heart-broken I am, but what is the answer to the question I ask and want to ask ‘why you,why now’? Who do I question man or the good lord?.
"Pained as I am all glory to God for the times we shared together. Okon died on his 47th birthday; he was born on March 15, 1969. May his gentle soul rest in peace."
May his gentle soul Rest in Peace.