Top five Nigerian goalkeepers of all time

By Ajibade Olusesan March 17, 2018

Nigeria has produced some great goalkeepers, with most of them so good that it is almost impossible to come up with the best among them. From Sam Ibiam, Carl O’Dwyer , Eyo Essien, Emmanuel Ominunu, Olu Onagoruwa, Joe Erico to the likes of Amusa Adisa, Alloy Agwu, Willy Okpara, David Ngodigha, to Wilfred Agbonavbare Nigeria’s history is replete with great shot stoppers.

The five below are arguably the best the country has ever produced.

Peter Fregene:

He’s regarded as the longest serving goalkeeper in the history of Nigeria as he played across three decades from the 1960s up till the 1980s.

Fregene broke into national consciousness in the 60’s with stellar showing for ECN FC and got rewarded with a slot in the team to the 1968 Olympics; he was best remembered for his heroics in Nigeria’s 2-2 draw with Brazil at the Games. He was the first choice until 1971 when he lost his place in the then Green Eagles.

His international career in seemed over for more than a decade until he resurfaced to the lead the line for the then defending champions in the 1982 African Cup of Nations in Libya, although it was a calamitous campaign for Nigeria in Libya as the team that had won the AFCON trophy two years earlier terribly capitulated.

Emmanuel Okala

He was larger than life during his time; a goalkeeper with a frightening height. Whether he featured for Enugu Rangers, his club side, or the national team, he was the most feared last man standing. He had a long reach that complemented his reflexes; his goal kicks were as vicious as a rocket; Okala was the master.

The former Onitsha Red Devils goalie spent less than a decade in the national team but made a lasting impression with his remarkable achievement which included victory at the African Cup of Nations in 1980. His exploits with Rangers were more pronounced; he was the most outstanding player as the Flying Antelopes won the 1977 African Cup Winners tournament. He was even named the African Player of the Year in 1978 by African Sports Journalists Union.

Sadly, Okala left the national team in acrimonious circumstances after he was overlooked in Nigeria’s triumph at AFCON in 1980 but he had done enough to etch his name in history.

Best Ogedegbe

Segun Odegbami was arguably the most popular figure as Nigeria won her maiden AFCON title in 1980 on home soil, but Ogedegbe was one of the top performers held in high esteem by jubilant fans. He had helped his club side IICC of Ibadan to victory in the African Cup Winners title in 1976, the first by a Nigerian outfit, but was constantly behind Enugu Rangers’ Okala in pecking order in the national team. Surprisingly, Coach Otto Gloria dropped the more illustrious Okala for Best who kept the goal throughout the tournament. He was arguably the most skillful goalkeeper the country had ever had; as a goalie he scored many penalties for his club IICC and frightened many opponents into losing theirs with his usual psychological tricks. He would go into a game boasting no one would get a ball past him and most times it turned out that way, he was a master trickster.

Inua Lawal Rigogo:

So much folklore about the former ECN shot stopper; he reigned in the 60’s and many old generation of football fans who are still alive today regard him as the most flamboyant goalie. He was a showman, his usual acrobatic displays made many people believed he was not ordinary. He was so good at the tricks that even revered Ghana President Kwame Nkurmah was so enamored he nicknamed the Nigerian as ‘the Flying Cat’ when the Eagles played against the Black Stars.

He possesses the record as the goalkeeper that conceded the least number of goals for the national team having conceded just four despite playing for more than eight years for the country.

Peter Rufai:

He might not have the flamboyance of Ogedegbe, Rigogo or the frightening reputation of Okala, to the new generation of Nigerian football fans, Rufai is the best the country has ever produced. He was the first man to be in goal for the country at the FIFA World Cup in 1994 and one of the longest serving shot stoppers in the country. He became so popular through his efforts at Stationery Stores in the late 80s and even took his career to Europe where he featured for Lokeren, Beveren, GoAhead Eagles and Deportivo la Coruna. There were good goalkeepers during his time with the national team but anytime he was around he would still be picked ahead of the likes of Agu, Ngodigha, Okpara and even Agbonvbare.

Anytime Nigeria ran into trouble, he was always the man the country turned to just like in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup.

Culled from https://newtelegraphonline.com/2018/03/top-five-nigerian-goalkeepers-time/ By Ike Onwubuya


Nigerians who distinguished themselves coaching foreign teams

Today, a lot of Nigerian coaches are testing their mettle handling foreign clubs. In the past such jobs were centred in the African continent, but these days, we have seen Nigerians coaching club sides in Europe. The number is growing by the day, from Mike Emenalo, to Sunday Oliseh, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke and Maureen Mmadu, the list is growing as more ex-internationals are delving into coaching and acquiring CAF and FIFA coaching badges DAPO SOTUMINU reports

Adegboye Onigbinde (Trinidad & Tobago 2000-2001):

Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, one of the most successful Nigerian football managers in history was in Trinidad and Tobago from 2000 to 2001 where he helped transformed the country’s football from the most important stage of development, the national Under-17 team. He spread his tentacles to the grassroots where he fished out quality youth players who became top stars in the country’s football years after their discovery. After coaching at the club level at Water Corporateion of Ibadan and Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, Onigbinde coached Nigeria national team at the 1984 Nations Cup where he helped the country to win silver. Majority of the players discovered for the 1984 Nations Cup played for Nigeria in the next 10 years. He returned to coach the Eagles at the FIFA World Cup 2002 emerging as the first Nigerian to handle a team at the World Cup finals.

Harrison Okagbue (Uganda 1999-2001):

One of the few Nigerians to have handled a foreign team in the late 90s. Harrison became the coach of the Cranes of Uganda in 1999 and his time there spanned 3 years till 2001. The ex-Eagles defender played in the Nigerian league in the 70’s with the now-defunct Sharks and Rangers before retiring in 1980. He moved to Uganda in 1999 and was appointed the coach of the Ugandan National team, however after a 3-0 loss to Togo at home in an African Nations Cup qualifier he was sacked. Since then he hasn’t coached another National team and has retired from active sporting activities.

Christian Chukwu (Kenya 1998):

As a player, Chairman Christian Chukwu was the first Nigerian to lift the African Nations Cup trophy, he is also ex-captain of Rangers International. He started his coaching career in Lebanon in the mid-90s and was appointed as coach of the Kenyan national team in 1998 where he spent a year and failed to qualify them for any tournament.

Maureen Mmadu (Avaldsens & Avaldsens 2012- present):

After playing for various teams in Europe and Norway especially, Maureen became the first Female Nigerian coach to handle a European team. She boasts of a UEFA C coaching license and since 2012 she has been the assistant coach of Avaldsnes Women Football Club in Norwegian top flight, while she doubles as the main coach of Avaldsens 2, the junior team of Avaldsnes, in Division 2 of the Norwegian female league football. The Anambra-born midfielder is also a Coach Developer and has stated her interest in the Super Falcons’ job. As a player she is the first Nigerian footballer, male and female to reach 100 caps in the history of the national team, playing for the Super Falcons.

Micheal Emenalo (Chelsea 2010):

Barely three weeks ago, the ex-Enugu Rangers and Super Eagles World Cup defender left his role as the Technical Director of Chelsea Fc after serving for upmost of 10 years in that role. Before his appointment as Technical Director of Chelsea, the Nigerian star had served as an Assistant coach of the English champions. He was promoted from the post of Chief Scout to an assistant coach of the first team in November 2010. However less than a year later he was appointed as the Technical Director of the team, a role he left early November. He has since been linked with a move to AS Monaco of France.

Shuaibu Amodu (Orlando Pirates 1996-1997):

The late tactician had handled a few Nigerian club sides in the late 80s and early 90s but in 1996 he was appointed the chief coach of South African side, Orlando Pirates. He helped them to a third place finish in the PSL league. Amodu could be listed among Nigerian football’s unsung hero after he managed the National team five times qualifying the Super Eagles for the World Cup on two occasions (but was never allowed to handle the team at the World Cup proper). He also led the Nigerian national team to the 3rd place finish at the African Cup of Nations. He died on the 10th of June 2016 just days after the death of Stephen Keshi.

Culled from New Telegraph by Ike Onwubuya

Source: NewTelegrahOnline

1975 African Club Champions Cup debacle, day Mehalla Saw Wahala

Source: https://niyitabiti.net/2017/07/1975-african-club-champions-cup-debacle-day-mehalla-saw-wahala/


As opponents of Barcelona FC coined “No mercy for Messi”, so did the slogan, “Mehalla will see Wahala”, was chanted by fans of Rangers in 1975 when Mehalla FC of Egypt came to Enugu for a return match after defeating Rangers 3 – 1 in Cairo. Did Mehalla see wahala? Find out.

In 1975, just a year after emerging as the double Champions in Nigeria Challenge Cup and National League, Rangers International Football Club hit Africa Club Cup Competition with a killer instinct. In its first match against the Accra Great Olympics, March 1975, Rangers defeated the Ghana team 2 – 0 in Accra Ghana; with Nigerian player, Christian Madu, who played for the Ghanaians, harassing Rangers throughout the match.

Two weeks later, in Lagos, Rangers stamped their authority over the Ghanaians by defeating them 2 – 1 through Alex Nwosu and Kenneth Abana with the visitors’ only goal scored by Christian Madu. Of course, Rangers “conscripted” Madu from Accra Great Olympics after the Match in Lagos and he was not allowed to go back to Ghana. He joined Rangers after the Lagos second leg match!

1975-african-club-champions-cup-debacle-day-mehalla-saw-wahalaMrs. Julie Alale
( Madam Rangers )

In the second round match against Young Africans of Tanzania, played on May 10 at the National Stadium Lagos, Ernest Okonkwo, the legendary radio Commentator had this to say of the match: “This is unbelievable….I cannot believe that Rangers that out played and outscored Great Olympics of Ghana last month is finding it difficult to score this Tanzania team.”

The match ended goalless in Lagos. Rangers prepared for the return leg in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, by staying put in Lagos instead of flying back to Enugu. In the return leg, two weeks later, Rangers played 1 – 1 draw with their hosts in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania with ex-Nigeria Academic player, Alex Nwosu, scoring for Rangers. Thus, Rangers progressed on away goal advantage.

In the Quarter Finals, Rangers defeated Green Buffaloes of Zambia, a predominantly military team on 4 – 3 aggregate having drawn 2 – 2 in Lusaka, Zambia, earlier on September 14th 1975. Rangers FC equalizer after trailing 2 – 1 up to two minutes to go was so dramatic and unbelievable. “I collected a pass from my skipper and ran through the left flank ending on the corner flag and pulling the ball into the eighteen, which Stanley Okoronkwo nodded in for the equalizer”, said Francis Nwosu, the dogged Rangers left full back. In the second leg, in Lagos, Rangers came from behind after conceding an early goal to defeat the Zambians 2 – 1 and moved to the semi-finals against Mehalla F.C. of Egypt.

In the first leg of the semifinals, Rangers travelled to Cairo, Egypt, to confront Mehalla FC and the match was moved to the club’s home where they walloped Rangers 3 – 1. In that epoch match, only one woman was in the field: Mrs. Julie Alale. It was alleged that it was the presence of Madam Rangers that helped Rangers to score a goal. “The Mehalla FC Supporters were said to be fetish and had banned women from coming to the match. However, they could not stop Madam Rangers from entry into the field and that spoilt their charm” was the submission of Rangers Supporters Club member, the late Mr. Robinson Okpara, known as “Jagua nana”.

The truth, however, is that the Rangers officials, prior to the match, had virtually no knowledge about Mehalla FC. In that country, especially in that environment, women hardly mix up with men in public gathering. Secondly, Rangers greatest goalkeeper, Emma Okala, had developed some eye problem on the eve of the match. Ogidi Ibeabuchi was also said to have been slightly indisposed. The match ended in the tragic 3 – 1 whipping of Rangers. Whatever, Rangers lost the match 3-1 in Mehalla. Rangers returned to Enugu, pleaded with NFA to move the return leg to Enugu where they roasted Mehalla 3 – 0, and qualified for the finals.

Madam Rangers: Madam Rangers is Rangers and Rangers is Madam Rangers

Mrs. Julie Alale stands alone as the first nationally recognized female supporter of a major Nigerian football club. She deserves special mention in the history of Nigeria’s football. Mrs. Alale was flamboyant and notable everywhere she went with the club….That Mrs. Alale would be identified with the club was not by happenstance. The club’s history, closely associated with the Nigerian Civil War, mirrors Mrs. Alale’s involvement with Rangers.

She was the wife of Mr. Philip Alale, a trade unionist who was commissioned as a major in the Biafran Army before he was indicted for treason and executed. Mrs. Alale was then detained for a good part of the war…but her spirit endured.  It was not surprising then that she was the only lady among the various persons who met to establish the club at the end of the war on January 29, 1970. She had endured in her personal challenges and the Rangers club represented that spirit of endurance.

Mrs. Alale was to serve as the club’s Welfare Officer. She travelled with the club all over Africa. Some of these trips were made to difficult places but she was always easily recognizable as “Madam Rangers” with her usual hat to match her outfit….Ike Onwubuya

The most unforgettable of Mrs. Alale’s travels was to Cairo against Mehala in 1975. Women, at that time, were scarcely seen in public places without covering their face with the hijab, let alone in a stadium.  The Egyptians would have none of Mrs. Alale’s intent to be at the stadium for the game. She was harassed and threatened but she insisted, and with the support of the Nigerian delegates, Madam Rangers stood shoulder high as the only lady among thousands of fans who packed the Cairo Stadium to watch Rangers confront Mehalla. It was a triumph of spirit and commitment. It was a spirit that saw her through the death of her husband, Philip, the detentions in Biafra, and then the challenge of the cultural police in Cairo. It was the spirit of Julie ‘Madam Rangers’ Alale!

The post 1975 African Club Champions Cup debacle, day Mehalla Saw Wahalaappeared first on Vanguard News.

Ex-Rangers Star, Obiekwu, Slumps, Dies in Action

Tragedy has again struck Nigerian football after former Enugu Rangers star Henry Obiekwu slumped and died while playing a friendly in Enugu Monday.

Former Super Eagles defender Kingsley Obiekwu aka ‘Shagari’ confirmed the passing of his younger brother Henry.
Eye witnesses said right fullback Henry asked to be replaced during the friendly match with his youth team Samba FC at the UNEC Stadium in Enugu Monday morning after he complained of severe chest pain.

He later slumped and was rushed to several hospitals before he was confirmed dead at the Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre in Enugu. FC Taraba was Henry’s last club.

Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/02/15/ex-rangers-star-obiekwu-slumps-dies-in-action/

Ex-Rangers embark on N500m Hall Of Fame Project

Source: http://m.guardian.ng/sport/ex-rangers-embark-on-n500m-hall-of-fame-project/

Former players of Rangers International football Club, Enugu are planning to establish a hall of fame project for soccer icons at the cost of N500 million.
The complex will house sporting facilities, shopping mall, event centre, clinic, restaurant, guest house among others, according to former members of the club.
Disclosing this in Enugu yesterday, former Green Eagles goalkeeper, who is also Vice Chairman, Ex-Rangers International board of Trustee, Chief Emmanuel Okala, stated that the main objective of the project was to use the proceeds to cater for the welfare of the ex-players and their families.