Tributes as former League of Ireland player Sam Oji passes away aged 35

Tributes as former League of Ireland player Sam Oji passes away aged 35

TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of former League of Ireland footballer Sam Oji, who has passed away at the age of 35.

Oji, a former Limerick FC and Galway United player, had recently been appointed assistant manager of non-league Highgate United after three years there as a player.

The Solihull-based club, which revealed yesterday that Oji was "extremely ill but still fighting like the warrior that he is", confirmed his passing this morning.

"All, it is with a very heavy heart that I am deeply saddened to inform you, that our beloved Captain, Leader and Legend Samuel Oji has sadly passed away," the club revealed on Twitter.

"The thoughts of all at Highgate United FC are with Sam's wife, children and family at this very sad time."

Oji, a defender, played youth football at Arsenal before joining Birmingham City.

He had spells with Doncaster, Bristol Rovers, Leyton Orient and Hereford before joining Swedish outfit Ljungskile.

After two seasons back in England with Tamworth, he enjoyed successful spells with Limerick and Galway United.

He then played for Worcester City and Hednesford Town before joining Highgate in 2018.

'Infectious personality'

Former League of Ireland teammates and opponents alike have paid tribute to Oji, with former Galway clubman Conor Barry describing him as "a brilliant character".

Meanwhile Dundalk's Brian Gartland said Oji was "a tough man whenever I played against him but also a gent".

Galway, for whom Oji scored their first goal upon returning to the top fight, described him as "a hugely popular person".

And Treaty United, the club formed following the liquidation of Oji's former side Limerick FC, said Oji was a Limerick “fans’ favourite” during his time in Munster.