Former Nigeria defender Taribo West has reacted to news on the social media and websites claiming he died in a South African hospital on Thursday.
Reports of his death emerged on Friday on some media platforms saying he died in South Africa, and many of his fans had started to express their grief.
But in an interview with SATURDAY PUNCH, the ex-footballer who had stints at European giants AC Milan, Inter Milan and Kaiserslautern said he was alive and well, and never visited South Africa.
He said he first got wind of the news while at home meditating ahead of his church programme on Sunday.
“I received calls telling me to check Facebook about news of my death. I saw reports of my death and people were commenting. I just laughed. I’ve never received such number of calls all my life. From US, UK, all over the world,” the Atlanta ’96 Olympics gold medallist said.
He added that he had a premonition that something ‘evil’ was going to happen, after a spiritual attack.
Taribo continued, “It’s the handwork of the devil; they struck but they couldn’t get me. Last week, I had a revelation, in which I was heavily attacked but they couldn’t get me. They also tried it in the physical but they didn’t succeed. So, when they couldn’t kill me, they resorted to the rumour of my death. It wasn’t an ordinary thing. But when they can’t get you, they must join you in celebrating with you. That’s what’s happening now.”
Speaking further, Taribo said he is relieved and happy after God used the news to reunite him with old friends and acquaintances.
“All the people I had lost contact with were calling, thinking I had kicked the bucket. But it helped me in reuniting with these people. That’s God’s work, when the devil means evil for you, God turns it to good for His children. I didn’t travel. I only went to the American Embassy last Tuesday; I never travelled after that,” Taribo said.
Meanwhile his former teammates and sports personalities in Nigeria have also reacted to the news of his death.
Victor Ikpeba tweeted, “My brother Taribo West is alive. Please ignore rumours that he is dead.” Edema Fuludu wrote, “I just spoke to Taribo West and he is hale and hearty.”