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Sports News of Thursday, 22 December 2022


Super Eagles’ Afcon-winning goalkeeper allegedly defrauds businessman

Peter Rufai and Ike Shorunmu Peter Rufai and Ike Shorunmu

Former Nigeria international Peter Rufai is considered a legend among football fans after helping the Super Eagles win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations tournament

A Nigerian businessman based in Ibadan, Oyo State, Debo Thomas, has accused former Super Eagles goalkeeper Peter Rufai of defrauding him to the tune of one million naira.

In an FIJ report, Debo Thomas revealed that an acquaintance introduced him to Peter Rufai in 2021 when he began moves to build a sports complex within the country.

Rufai reportedly fell in love with the project and promised to share the template of a similar task he completed in Belgium.

Thomas claims that Rufai initially refused to accept a fee for the design template.

However, Rufai agreed to be paid whatever amount Thomas deemed fit for his input and shared his UBA account where the payment should be made.

But trouble started after a million naira was paid into Peter Rufai’s account with the former Deportivo La Coruna star taking offence at the pittance paid as he expected more.

Rufai’s inconsistency and failure to share the template document frustrated Thomas and he told the former shot-stopper to refund his money as he was no longer interested in going further with the project.

Thomas then took the matter to court when it became clear that Rufai had no intention of refunding the million naira.

The court ruled in favour of Thomas and Rufai was ordered to refund the businessman. But Peter Rufai responded by having Debo Thomas arrested.

Efforts by FIJ to get Peter Rufai to respond to the allegations have not yielded much results with the former international claiming that the matter was still in court.

Rufai’s previous romance with fraud
This is not the first time that Peter Rufai will be entangled in a case of financial misadventure.

In 2013, the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winner was accused of making away with a certain 200,000 euro grant from the Belgian government for a football project in the Nigerian community in Belgium.

It was said that the former Lokeren goalie made away with the money and refused to return to the country. Rufai allegedly risked jail time should he step foot on the shores of Belgium again.

But Rufai denied the allegations, claiming he never received any money from the Belgian authorities.

Peter Rufai’s legacy

Often regarded as one of Nigeria’s greatest-ever goalkeepers, Peter Rufai played for several clubs in the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium.

The most memorable moments of Rufai’s career were, however, with the Super Eagles.

Rufai represented Nigeria at several Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and was Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper at the FIFA World Cup in 1994 and 1998.

He helped Nigeria lift the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 1994 – the country’s second continental title.