By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has said that it has received with deep shock the death of its foremost President, Pa Joseph Adebayo Thompson who died on Tuesday at the ripe age of 99.
SWAN expressed this in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Jude Opara, made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
SWAN recalled with nostalgia his huge contributions to the development of sports in the county which prompted him and other like minds to birth the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in 1964. He was to lead the Association from 1964-1972.
SWAN President, Sir, Honour Sirawoo in his tribute, said the late Pa Thompson was a beacon of encouragement who was always on hand to render fatherly advice any time he was called upon.
Sirawoo who also described the deceased as the father of sports journalism in Nigeria even as he regretted that Pa Thompson would have clocked the iconic 100 years on the 30th of April, 2021.
“In his journalism career, Pa. Thompson was able to leave his marks starting from his professional career as a Press Reporter at the Labour Champion Newspapers owned by the Nigeria Federation of Labour in 1950. He was later to work in; the Daily Success Newspapers, the West African Pilot, the Daily Times as well as the Daily Express Newspaper as Sports Editor.
“Pa Thompson was indeed a man of many parts; He qualified as a soccer Referee in 1952, after serving as a match official for 14 years, he retired as Grade II Referee. He was a National Secretary of the Nigerian Referees Association (NRA) for four years.
“That was not all, Pa Thompson was also appointed Leader and Team Manager of the Nigerian Team to the first International Youth football contest between Nigeria and Ghana held in 1958.
“He was also an Amateur Boxing Referee, member of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C) and Publicity Secretary of West African Boxing Federation until it was defunct in 1975.
“With the tone set by the likes of Pa Thompson, SWAN has grown into a globally recognized National Association as it is a bonafied and influential member of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).
“Today, Nigerian Sports journalists have travelled to virtually all parts of the globe to cover and report sporting events and they have always stood out as one of the best professionals.
“The National Secretariat recalls that during his time, Pa Thompson was a bridge builder who was always on hand to render fatherly advice to the association.
“SWAN prays God to grant his family and associates the fortitude to bear the loss; and urge sports journalists across the country to tap from the late Pa Thompson’s legacies”.