The Golden Ball winner at the 1987 U17 World Cup, Philip Osondu, has passed away.
Osondu 48, died in Belgium after a brief illness, it was gathered
Goal reports that the former Nigeria wonderkid felt ill and visited the hospital to be examined.
The demise of Osondu has elicited varying comments across social media with ex-teammates and fans alike expressing sadness over the death ex-football star.
One of Osondu’s former national team colleague, Mutiu Adepoju, said he was shattered by news of the death.
“Philip Osondu was my teammate at Saudi 89 FIFA U20 World Cup, where we helped Nigeria finish in second position. So shattered about the news of his passing. Dear Lord, do grant him eternal rest and console his family #RipOsondu,” Adepoju wrote on his twitter handle.
On his part Uche Okagbue, coach of Nigeria Professional Football League side, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, is finding it difficult to come to terms with Osondu’s death.
“I still find it difficult to believe that Osondu is no more” the coach said.
Another fan @ibeukwuoma wrote: Zanza is a captain onye isi game is the song in the mouth of every kid that grew up in Aba in 1979-82. Zanza buru ba is another song when you dribble opponents and their goalkeepers. RIP Philip Osondu
Born November 28, 1971 in Aba, Abia State, Osondu played regularly for the youth teams of Nigeria, but never had the chance to play for the senior national team, now called the Super Eagles.
In 1987, he participated in the World U-16 tournament in Canada. Nigeria reached the final, but lost on penalties to the Soviet Union. Osondu got the World Cup Golden Ball as best player of the tournament,
Osondu also participated in the Word U-20 tournament in Saudi Arabia.
As for club football, the late Osondu featured for a handful of teams starting from the domestic scene with El Kanemi Warriors, RSC Anderlecht, Racing White Daring Molenbeek, La Louviere, Union Saint Gillis, Diedem Sport and FC Merchtem 2000.