XANTHI, Greece (AFP) – Nigeria international defender Olubayo Adefemi was killed in a car crash Monday, police in the northern Greek city of Kavala reported.
The 25-year-old Xanthi right back was driving to Thessaloniki Airport to return to Nigeria to finalise plans for his upcoming wedding.
"The Super League and the entire Greek football family would like to express its deepest condolences and sympathy for the family of Olubayo Adefemi, who died tragically in a car accident," a statement by the Super League said.
Kavala traffic police said Adefemi, who has five international caps, lost control of his car on a curve on the wet Engatia Highway, just outside Kavala.
His vehicle struck the dividing bar on the highway and flipped over, landing on the opposite lane.
The exact causes of the accident are being investigated by police.
Football officials in Nigeria spoke of their devastation at the news.
"We are in grief, total grief. This has come on a day that we should be celebrating the Flying Eagles’ defeat of world champions Ghana at the African Youth Championship," said Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) acting general secretary, Musa Amadu.
"But at this stage, we can only pray for a repose of his soul and that God should grant the family he has left behind and Nigeria’s football family the fortitude to bear the huge loss," Amadu added.
NFF president Aminu Maigari, in South Africa for the 2-1 win over Ghana on Monday, said: "This is devastating. Why such a young and dedicated player? Why now? I can’t say more."
Adefemi’s manager, Miguel Riera, said the accident occurred early Monday morning as the player chose to make use of a week-long break from his Greek club to travel to Nigeria to finalise his marriage plans.
"This is very sad. I am very sad to confirm to you that Olubayo is dead. There is no doubt about it. I have identified the body," said Riera.
Adefemi was a key member of the Nigeria team which played in the final of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in The Netherlands in 2005.
He also starred in the Beijing 2008 Olympics football final in which Nigeria were beaten by Argentina.
Adefemi joined Xanthi last summer and scored two goals in 24 matches. Xanthi finished in ninth place and avoided relegation.
Among the other clubs he had played for were Hapoel Tel Aviv and Rapid Bucharest.