Coach of victorious Golden Eaglets, Deacon Yemi Tella is no more. He succumbed to the cold hand of death on Saturday after days of uncertainty concerning his recovery from postrate cancer, which attacked him before the last World Under-17 tournament in South Korea.
The 57-year-old, a former National Institute of Sports (Nisports) lecturer had been diagnosed with postrate cancer in Korea at the 8-nation tournament and was subsequently treated before the commencement of the championship.
He 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 Gimba said.
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 Tella.
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