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Uche Okafor Obituary

Uche Okafor (AP Photo)
LITTLE ELM, Texas (AP) - Uche Okafor, a former Nigeria defender who helped his national football team win the African Cup of Nations in 1994 and was twice a member of the country's World Cup squad, was found dead in his Texas home, police said Friday. He was 43.

Okafor's body was discovered Thursday afternoon by his wife in their house in Little Elm, a town about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Dallas, Detective Oscar Hinojosa said. The official cause of death was pending, and police declined to describe it as a homicide or a suicide.

"We're just saying it's a death," Hinojosa told The Associated Press.

A spokesman for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said Okafor's body would be examined Friday.

Besides helping Nigeria win the African Cup, Okafor was a member of the country's World Cup squads in 1994 and '98. The Nigerians reached the second round both times, but Okafor played in only one match, a 3-1 loss to Paraguay in the first round in 1998.

"We are totally shocked by the news," said Musa Amadu, acting secretary general of the Nigerian Football Federation. "Uche Okafor was a great player who represented his country at the highest level."

Besides playing for various teams in Europe, Okafor played for the Kansas City Wizards in MLS from 1996 to 2000.

A friend who could not reach Okafor called the former player's wife, Ifeyinwa Okafor, police said.

"She was at work and she came home and found him," Hinojosa said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press