The funeral of Isaac Promise, the former Nigeria youth captain, took place in the south-eastern town of Umudim, Ohekelem, Imo State.
Promise, 31, died of a suspected heart attack in early October in the United States, according to American second-tier side Austin Bold. Clad in black, the family gathered three months after his death to attend the burial ceremony. Despite representing his country at all youth level, he was buried in a low-key ceremony with a no-show from top Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials.
“We sent out the Programme in December, but there was no representative from the football community,” a family member told Opera News. “Imagine a former captain of Nigeria and there was no NFF representatives among the audience, and not even a former teammate. “This is another lesson for footballers, you are only important when you are actively involved in the game because no one cares after your career is over.” Promise is survived by his wife Kate and three children.
Captain of the Nigeria side that won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he represented the West African nation at the under-17, under-20 and under-23 categories. He scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Egypt in the final to help his country to continental success at the 2005 African U-20 championship in Benin.
A product of Grays International school in Kaduna, he also helped Nigeria to a runners up finish at the Fifa U-20 World Cup later that year. He spent much of his career in Turkey, with Trabzonspor, Manisaspor and Antalyaspor among his former clubs, and also had a brief spell in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ahli. Promise was posthumously voted Forward of the Year by fans of American USL side Austin Bold in late November.
Theater of unrealised dreams: At 16, Isaac Promise had a trial at Manchester United, along with fellow Nigerian John Mikel Obi, but he was not successful.