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Former World Cup and Ajax star survives horror car crash in which his footballer brother tragically dies

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A NIGERIAN World Cup star has survived a horrific car crash – although his footballer brother tragically died in the accident.

Tijani Babangida, 50, shot to fame as a winger in the 1990s.

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Former Nigerian footy star Ibrahim Babangida has died after a road accident[/caption]
AFP
His older brother, an ex-Nigeria international Tijani, was in the car but survived the crash[/caption]

He won Olympic gold with Nigeria in 1996 and was part of his country’s squad for the World Cup in France two years later.

Babangida’s club career was spent mostly in Holland, where he started out at Roda.

But his form earned him a move to Ajax in 1996 where he won the league and cup, during his seven years there.

He also played for VVV-Venlo and Vitesse in the Netherlands but also had stints in Turkey with Genclerbirligi and Saudi Arabia at Al-Ittahad.

Babangida finished his career in China with Changchun Yatai before hanging up his boots in 2004.

He became a football agent after retirement and has led the Professional Football’s Association of Nigeria, where he served as president. 

Meanwhile, his younger brother Ibrahim also played professionally during the 90s and won the U17 World Cup with his nation.

He had spells domestically at Bank of the North, Stationery Stores and Katsina United before moving to the Netherlands himself in 1997.

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Ibrahim signed for Volendam and he played on the right wing for them for five years before hanging up his boots in 2002.

Now a host of tributes have poured in after the sad news of his death was announced.

Tijani’s old team-mate Emmanuel Babayaro, the general secretary of PFAN, announced the tragedy on social media.

He reported that the accident happened on Thursday and left Rijani receiving treatment in a Zaria hospital while Ibrahim was killed instantly in the crash.

The pair were said to have been involved in a traffic collision on the Zaria-Kaduna Road.

Rijani is believed to be in a serious but stable condition in the medical facility alongside his wife, son, and a family employee. 

Ibrahim was buried on Friday in his hometown of Kaduna. 

Babayaro’s statement read: “Comrades! Let us pray for our president, Tijani Babangida, who has just been involved in a terrible car accident on the Kaduna-Zaria Eoad road.

“Ibrahim Babangida, his younger brother, died on the spot from the accident while Mr President and his family were taken to hospital. 

“May the soul of Ibrahim Babangida rest in peace with God, amen.

“The accident happened on Thursday afternoon, and (Tijani’s) wife was also involved in it.

“He is currently admitted at Shika hospital in Zaria, where he is receiving treatment.

“To the glory of God, he is conscious.”

Garba Lawal, who was part of the ‘96 gold medal-winning Nigeria squad, paid tribute to both men.

He told Punch: “Ibrahim Babangida and his brother Tijani Bagabgida are like my brothers.

“We played at club and national team levels together for years, especially, Ibrahim, we played together at the same club before he moved to Stationery Stores while I joined Julius Berger.

“I called some members of their family, no one among their sisters can say anything because of how sad it is. Our prayer is just that God should grant him eternal rest. 

“We are also praying for Tijani’s wife, who is in critical condition, to get well soon and I think Tijani is getting better already because I spoke with him.”

Meanwhile, their younger brother, the 41-year-old Haruna, also enjoyed an impressive footy career.

He was second-youngest player to appear for Barcelona when he made his debut during a friendly against AGOVV Apeldoorn in 1998 at the age of 15. 

He later went on to play for his country and the likes of Olympiacos, Mainz 05, Vitesse, and Apollon Limassol before retiring in 2015.

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