Former Super Eagles defender, Ajibade Babalade, nicknamed “Kunde”, died 9n Friday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Babalade, 48, died while being rushed to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, according to reports from multiple sources.
He is survived by a wife and three kids, who are all based in the US.
The hard-as-nails retired defender was a squad member of the Eagles that won bronze at the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal.
His hard-tackling style earned him the nickname Kunde, in the mould of Emmanuel Kunde, the Camerounian defender.
Ex-Eagles goalkeeper and Babalade’s Senegal ’92 and 3SC teammate, Ike Shorunmu, confirmed the death of Babalade, an indigene of Ekiti State, who was born and raised in Lagos,.
Shorunmu said he was informed of his friend’s death in the afternoon, after attending Jumat service.
“I went to the mosque for Jumat service this afternoon (Friday), so I switched off my phone. Immediately I put it back on, I got a message from Ajibade’s in-law that I needed to be at his place. So, I went with my wife, but on our arrival, the (Babalade’s) family broke the news to me,” he added.
“I’m very sad as we speak now. This is someone whom I spoke with two days ago (on Wednesday), when he celebrated his son’s birthday.
“I was told he had cardiac arrest on Friday morning. I had to console his wife and kids, who are based in America, over the demise of their father. He died at the UCH gate.”
However, Shorunmu disclosed that the former Shooting Stars Team Manager was denied treatment by the first hospital he was taken to, before he was referred to UCH.
“The first hospital he was rushed to in Ibadan, he was rejected by the doctors and referred to the University College Hospital. But on his arrival at the UCH premises, he gave up the ghost at the gate. May his soul rest in peace,” Shorumu said.
Babalade began his professional club career at Stationery Stores of Lagos in 1990, before several stints at 3SC, helping the Oluyole Warriors to reach the final of the CAF Champions League in 1996 where they lost to Zamalek of Egypt. He also played for Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Owerri.
He played professionally abroad at Ivoirean side, African Sports, Anyang LG Cheetahs (Korea), SK Sturm Graz (Austria) and Indian club Mohun Bagan AC. On October 17, 2008 Babalade was named the manager of 3SC.
(With additional reports by Punch & The Podium)