Ilechukwu, Itodo praise Ayeleso heroics after father’s death

Plateau United coach, Fidelis Ilechukwu, has saluted the courage of the club’s goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso, who stood firmly in goal against Al Akhdar of Libya in the first leg of their CAF Confederation Cup game, despite having lost his father before kick-off.

Ayeleso’s father’s death was not in the news until the morning after the game, when the club posted a picture of one of its players, commiserating with the goalkeeper after the game on Twitter.

“Mustapha Yuga commiserates with goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso over the death of his father.

“May the soul of Suraj Ayeleso’s dad rest in peace.

“The goalkeeper must be commended for having the composure to man the post despite learning of his father’s death just two days earlier,” the tweet read.

In a chat with our correspondent, Ilechukwu hailed the spirit of the goalkeeper for being able to carry out his professional duty even in his darkest hours.

“Ayeleso is someone that everybody likes to look up to in the team. He is straightforward, he is truthful and he has a strong mentality. For a goalkeeper that heard that kind of news before that kind of game and he showed understanding and still performed at that level, it shows a lot of strong mentalities. With the qualities that we know him for already, he showed that he is one of the best goalkeepers we have in this country.”

Ilechukwu confirmed that the player has been excused from the team to attend to his family.

“At the end of the game, I told him he had the grace to take a short break and he was glad about that as well. I spoke with him while he was on his way to Kwara State, and he would be rejoining us in like two days’ time before we travel for the return leg, the coach said.

Ayeleso’s teammate and Plateau United captain, Daniel Itodo also reechoed the sentiment of coach Ilechukwu about the goalkeeper.

“He got the news before the game and despite that, he gave a great display. He decided that he was going to do it for the team and he even gave us strength with his coordination during the match,” Itodo told our correspondent.

Ayeleso was unreachable at the time of filing this report, but it is believed that he would be home briefly to be part of the funeral rites for his late father.

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