returned to Nigeria with the Golden Eaglets after the tournament and
took ill again. He was rushed to Lagos University Teaching Hospital
(LUTH) Idi-Araba where doctors battled relentlessly to save his
life, but to no avail. The Golden Eaglets coach, who has spent two
weeks at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s (LUTH) Intensive
Care Unit (ICU) cut a picture of gloom last Friday, as the team of
forensic medical experts battling to save his life appeared to have
given in. In other words, the case was hopeless. That was the bitter
truth the doctor told the wife, on Friday.
The situation report from doctors and the numerous consultations
between the wife of the chief strategist, Mrs. Modupe Tella, showed
that the case was hopeless. It was more gloomy when the consultants
tell you that taking him out of the country was also ruled out
because there were no machine in LUTH to aid him from the hospital
to the Airport and to whichever country the family would have loved
him to be flown to for treatment.
Coach Tella was wheeled into the x-ray section of LUTH on Thursday
afternoon for Citi Scan, a procedure the doctors said was imperative
at that stage to ascertain the exact condition of the functional
abilities of his lungs and probably decide on the next course of
treatments to be administered to him.
Daily Sunsport enquries on Friday afternoon revealed that the
outcome of the Citi Scan was not encouraging. A medical personnel
disclosed that the chances of the ebullient coach surviving the
ordeal of his nerves-wrecking war against the deadly cancer was
totally slim. He stressed that Coach Tella’s condition needed more
than medical attention to survive.
The movement by family members and medical experts in change of the
coach around the ICU was very disturbing, with the wife, Mrs. Modupe
Tella wearing a downcast countenance after several consultations
with the doctors, concerning the outcome of the Citi Scan.
One of coach Tella’s brothers was later called up to the ICU section
of the hospital by Mrs. Modupe and they went into a discussion,
which from observation, depicted signs of hopelessness and
resignations to whatever God has in stock for their brother and
husband. They came out of the family meeting with forlorn faces.
Last Monday, a medical personnel had told members of the Golden
Eaglets handler’s family that he was in a terrible, bad condition,
adding that the cancer has ravaged his lungs badly. The doctor, a
female physician, advised that what was needed was prayers and
divine miracle from God.
The federal government had stormed LUTH hoping that money or
megabucks would do the magic promising to take over the medical
bills. With the visit of both Sports and Health ministers, it was
obvious that money wouldn’t have been a hindrance in the battle to
snatch the football Trojan from the jaws of death. But that seems
not to be the case.
"As a human being with blood flowing in my veins, what I saw is very
disturbing; the federal government is prepared to do all it takes to
bring him out of this situation," the Sports Minister, Abdulraman
Similarly, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, ordered
for the procurement of respiratory and ventilatory machines, to be
brought to LUTH to help with the treatment, with promises of leaving
no stone unturned to ensure that his life was saved. Sports Minister
and Chairman National Sports Commission (NSC), Honourable Abdulraham
Gimba, was sent by President Yar’Adua to visit the victorious coach
in LUTH and gave the heartwarming message from the president that
the FG would do all that was required to save the soul of Coach
Gimba’s countenance after he came out of the ICU, where he went to
see Tella on sick bed was visibly disturbing, as he couldn’t
overcome the shock.
With all the goodwill and out pouring of love and concern from
Nigerians from all walks of life, coupled with the round-the-clock
care from the medical hands in charge of ailing coach, all that was
left for all Nigerians was to hand over this case to God and pray
for His intervention to turn a hopeless case to hope. But we all
lost the battle.
Tella will be remembered as one of Nigerians indigenous coaches who
succeeded with the Eaglets and moreso, as a lecturer who abandoned
the classroom for coaching and wrote his name in gold.