- Category: Sport
- Published on Thursday, 20 May 2010 09:57
- Written by Admin
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Nigeria's number one golfer Abdullahi Ali died on Wednesday in an auto crash at Paiko about 20 kilometers from northern Nigeria's Niger State, police said.
Ali's predecessor Christian Godfrey and their candy, simply identified as Ben, were also killed in the accident.
They were traveling to Minna, the state capital to play in the Minna Cantonment Professional Gold Championship when their Toyota Avalon car had a burst tyre and collided with a Peugeot 206 car.
The driver and a passenger on the Peugeot 206 car sustained injuries and were rushed to the General Hospital in Minna, according to the police.
Ali returned from Cameroon on Tuesday where he won the African Open Golf Championship.
The manager of Minna Cantonment Golf Club, simply identified as Ambrose, described the death of the golfers as a shock, adding that the tournament would be postponed.
Culled from Next Newspaper
Members of the golf community in Nigeria have been reacting to the death of the two Nigerian professional golfers who died in an automobile accident on their to Minna, Niger State on Wednesday.
Abdullahi Ali, Christian Godfrey, and Godfrey's caddy, whose name was given as Ben, died in the crash as they travelled to Minna from Abuja to participate in the Minna Golf Championship, which has now been cancelled in their honour.
Ali's death in particular has come as a rude to shock to followers of golf in the country. In Nigeria, he is seen as the future of the game, having managed in the short time he has been on the Pro tour to upstage established names like Oche Odoh and Gboyega Oyebanji.
Indeed, only last weekend, he beat an experienced field, which included Oyebanji, to win the inaugural edition of the Cameroon International Golf Championship, which took place at the Yaoundé Golf Course, earning for himself the top prize of ten thousand Euros.
Bashiru Bakare, one of the Nigerian golfers who participated in the Cameroon Open and a life-long friend of Ali, says his death is devastating. Subdued by his friend's demise, Bakare said:
"I was shocked when I heard the news. I could not believe and I had to make calls to confirm that he was actually dead. This is a huge loss to me personally; he was a close friend. As a matter of fact we shared a room in Yaoundé last week. It was the same thing when we played in Gabon some weeks ago. This is a big, big blow."
He added that the death of Ali has robbed Africa of one of its finest golfers:
"He was an excellent golfer. From the days we played as amateurs before he turned Pro in Ibadan, he had shown traits of excellence. In the last one year he had grown to be the top golfer on the African tour. In fact, when we played in Gabon weeks back people were amazed at his game and said they did not know Africa had such skilled golfers."
PGA Tour saddened
The passage of Ali and Godfrey, who Bakare urged the Professional Golfers Association Tour (PGA Tour) to immortalise, has hit the body hard. Dominic Andrew, the body's Tournament Director, say they are saddened by the loss of the players.
"It's a big loss to all of us; they are arguably our best players. Just on Sunday Ali won the Cameroon golf open," he said. "As a mark of respect we have postponed the Minna tournament indefinitely.
We don't know for how long but we would have to mourn these great individuals. We commensurate with their families and pray that the lord grant them the fortitude to bear this great loss. It is a great loss to the golf family and the country at large. We miss them a lot. Domini Andrew Tournament director Nigeria PGA."
The three men died when a their car tyre burst, causing the driver to lose control and crash into an oncoming vehicle 30 kilometres to Minna. All three died instantly.