TENANTS in the house owned by the late ex-Nigeria international, Ajibade Babalade, have described the late soccer star as humane.
Speaking with Tribunesport at Elewura, Challenge area, Ibadan, the tenants lamented the demise of the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) bronze medallist, who died on Friday afternoon before being admitted at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at the age of 52.
“Mr Ajibade Babalade was my landlord for 15 years, I got married in his house. In those 15 years there was never a day that he looked at me in the eyes and acted like a landlord. He was too nice, he was nice to a fault.
“He would make you believe that everybody in his house including him all own the building. He loved children so much, he will bring kids into the compound and played football with them. His death is a huge loss to everybody, so humane” one of his former tenants, Mrs Adebusola Oyerinde told sportingtribune.
Also, another tenant, Mr Adeyemi Ademoyegun said: “Mr Ajibade happens to be my landlord, he was a very nice man. I really don’t know how to describe him. I have been his tenant for three years now, you won’t even know that he was the owner of this building, and that we are even tenants here.
“He treated everyone here like a family, he mingled with everyone without disparity. His death is a shock but I believe everything belongs to God.
“He was apparently been ill for over two weeks using self medication without informing us. I believe he thought it was a minor ailment. So sad we lost him, his death is a big loss to football fraternity in the country especially in Oyo State.”
Meanwhile, Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in a statement have mourned the death of their ex-Team Manager Babalade.
“The news of Kunde’s death was shocking and unbelievable.
“The exit of Ajibade is untimely and too painful for us, considering the fact that he was bubbling with life before the sad development occurred.
“Kunde contributed his quota to making Shooting Stars a team to reckon with both in Nigeria and the continent of Africa.
“We recall his contributions during the 1996 campaign in the African Champions Cup where he scored a great goal in the first leg of the final match against Zamalek of Egypt in Ibadan.
“We cannot also forget his role in helping the team gain promotion to the topflight in 2003, displaying a high level of commitment on the pitch, alongside Dimeji Lawal, in the midst of young players.
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“This is a monumental loss, not only to Shooting Stars but to the entire football fraternity in Nigeria.
“We pray that God grants him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear this heavy loss”.
Also, former international, Dimeji Lawal said: “Everybody is still in shock and I don’t really know how to describe his death.
“He was a diligent person. I can recall that he gave me a cut in the face while we were in the Super Eagles’ camp. Everything about Ajibade revolved round football and he was a core professional and that was why he was able to play abroad as well,”
Another ex-footballer, Sesan Odukoya, described Babalade as a great player as he recalled his last encounter with the latter.
“His death came as a shock to me, I spoke him a few days ago. We played in Cote d’Ivoire together. He was with Africa Sports while I was with Stade FC of Abidjan. We played against each other and I can say that he was a great defender.
“He complained about not being able to defecate for some days and that prompted his going to the hospital, may his soul rest in peace,” Odukoya told sportingtribune.