A lifetime ban slammed on Samson Siasia by FIFA for bribery is the latest tragedy to have befallen a charismatic coach, who the fans adored and whose players were willing to put their lives on the line for.
The shocking news of his ban comes just weeks after his mother was kidnapped for a ransom for the second time and two days after his 52nd birthday.
The former international striker was also one of the players who caused Nigeria to be banned by FIFA for two years from age-grade competitions after discrepancies in his age in 1985.
His luck had also ran out in October 2011, when inside a packed Abuja National Stadium his Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2012 AFCON after they were held 2-2 at home by Guinea.
A home win on the day would have secured qualification for Nigeria.
As a player, Siasia was widely compared to the legendary Portugal World Cup star Eusebio – so full of running, dare and inventiveness as was showcased by his classy chipped goal against Argentina at the 1994 World Cup in USA.
He was already a household name in Lagos on the back of his exploits in the Principal Cup, which produced some of Nigeria’s foremost stars like Stephen Keshi, Tarila Okorowanta and Olukanmi brothers.
Coach Chris Udemezue counted on him for goals for the Flying Eagles to qualify for their first-ever U20 World Cup in 1983 in Mexico and coach Tunde Disu also featured him at the 1985 edition of the tournament in the then USSR.
Siasia will join the exodus of Nigeria star to Belgium sparked off by Keshi in the late 80s when he signed for Lokeren.
He subsequently joined FC Nantes in 1993 and won the French Ligue 1 title with ‘The Canaries’ the following year.
But thereafter his career took a downward slide with stints in Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Israel as he hoped to secure his future financially only for a niggling knee injury to force him to quit rather prematurely.
It was as a coach, sporting his ‘lucky’ white shirt, that he would rise again to prominence even without much experience and qualifications.
He led the country to win the 2005 U20 AFCON in Benin Republic with the Flying Eagles playing an exciting brand of attacking football.
The team will be further strengthened by the inclusion of Mikel Obi, Chinedu Ogbuke and Taiye Taiwo for them to go all the way to the final of the 2005 U20 World Cup in Holland.
The Flying Eagles lost 2-1 to Argentina courtesy of two goals from the penalty spot by a certain Lionel Messi, who was named MVP of the championship.
Messi will again deny Siasia and Nigeria Olympic glory three years later in Beijing when he assisted for the match winner in the Gold medal game.
For most fans, Siasia had done enough to lead the Super Eagles and two years after the team failed to go past the first round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa he was the popular choice to take charge of the country’s full international side.
His team again played some exciting attacking brand of football as he kept faith with the core of the team he had worked with in the Flying Eagles, while also convincing the likes of Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi and Joel Obi to play for the country.
But it all came crashing when Guinea pegged back the Eagles in a final qualifying match in Abuja, which the home team needed to win to advance to the 2012 AFCON.
Siasia staged a return as Eagles coach in February 2016, when Sunday Oliseh quit just weeks to a crucial AFCON playoff against Egypt.
“Sia1” failed to get the Eagles past the Pharaohs to the 2017 AFCON and now just when it seemed the fans were again lining him up for another comeback, it all went horribly, horribly wrong for their darling.