Ebitimi Collins, a former Flying Eagles star who also played as a defender for Stationery Stores FC, a Lagos football club, has died.
According to reports, the man slumped and died on Wednesday in Lagos.
Family sources said the deceased, who was nicknamed Barbwire by fans, slumped in the early hours of Wednesday close to his house in Ikorodu. He was aged 54.
“Collins slumped and died around 5.30am on Wednesday. He had slept out but was coming home to pick up his hospital card because he had an appointment with his doctor, when he slumped a few metres to his house,” Olabisi Olawepo, a close family friend said.
It was learnt that Collins had been ill for a while but had recuperated before he died on Wednesday.
His younger brother, Fabian, said the family would announce the burial of the fallen star in due course.
“We will have to take his corpse down to our family house in Surulere. After then, we will announce the burial arrangements,” Fabian told our correspondent.
Collins began his career at Green Beret in the early 80s, before playing for Hoest of Otta and Concord of Abeokuta. He joined Stores in the 90s and went on to play for Enugu Rangers before returning to Stores, where he ended his playing career.
Collins was a hard-as-nails, no-nonsense defender, who was a nightmare to strikers of his era.
Meanwhile, several players of Collins’ generation have mourned him.
“Though he was feared because of his hard approach, he was a nice man on-and-off the pitch. He was one of my best friends at Stores and when we left the club. He was a fantastic individual,” ex-Stores captain Taiwo Oloyede stated.
Ex-3SC player Shola Akinwale wrote on WhatsApp, “May the soul of Ebitimi Collins aka “Babuwaya” Rest in Peace. I played against him severally in the early 90s. 3SC vs Stationery Stores.”