Former Super Eagles midfielder Etim Esin says he was told by a surgeon who operated on his knee ligament injury that he wouldn’t have been able to walk again if he had delayed surgery by two months.
Esin, who was hospitalised for two weeks, was discharged from The Well Plus Medicals Hospital, Lekki, Lagos on Friday after undergoing a successful surgery and treatment, courtesy of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick heeded to the call of the former player, who reached out to him three weeks ago after he suffered a relapse of the recurring right knee injury he sustained during his active days as a footballer.
The NFF president spent a total of N7,576,950 for the medical bills of Esin.
Speaking with Saturday PUNCH after he was discharged on Friday, Esin said, “I just got home from hospital today (Friday). Help me thank Amaju (Pinnick) for coming to my aid after I reached out to him.
“The surgery went well and I would not have been able to afford the bills.
“I spent two weeks at the hospital. I had to go through physiotherapy before the main surgery. Who would have coughed out such an amount, if not for him (Pinnick)?
“The surgeon said I’m lucky that I came earlier, that in the next two months I may not have been able to walk again if the knee was not replaced.
“In my life, I always have people who are there for me. The gunshot incident, when I was shot by armed robbers, it was former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida (who came to my rescue), the rape case in Belgium it was the late Chief Moshood Abiola and now this surgery and Pinnick helped me out.
“It’s just the grace of God. I’m happy it’s a leg issue, not that of an (internal) organ, it’s the same leg I used to play for Nigeria.”
Esin, one of the most gifted players of his generation, is often regarded as one of the most controversial characters in Nigerian football history.
He was shot in the leg by armed robbers in Surulere, Lagos in 1987 and his car snatched after he left the Flying Eagles camp at night unauthorised.
Despite the highly celebrated attack, the retired footballer would go on to represent the country at the 1987 U-20 World Youth Cup few months later.
In the early 1990s, he was charged for raping a minor during his playing days with Lierse FC in Belgium, a claim that was later proven to be false two decades after.