BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The first coach to handle a U-16 World Cup winning side, Nigeria’s Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen has clocked 80 this Sunday. He is a former national team player and an assistant to Clemens Westerhof who handled the Super Eagles in the early 1990s.
As a player, Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen is famously remembered for his free kick that enabled Bendel Insurance win the 1972 Challenge Cup at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, the first to be played outside its birthplace and traditional home ground, Onikan Stadium.
According to a media statement from the Media Department of the NFF, the coach remarked:
“I am a very happy man to have reached the age of 80. I give God Almighty all the glory”.
The now octogenarian made his debut for Nigeria in a 1-2 loss to Togo in Lagos during a qualifying match for the 1st All Africa Games football event on December 27, 1964 and was a member of the Nigerian team to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.
He began his football career in 1956 when as a student he featured for the Onitsha team in the Challenge Cup.
In 1962, he joined the Lagos ECN and was part of the Challenge Cup winning side in 1965.
He is particularly noted for his curving shots, especially from free kick situations. His greatest moment in scoring from set pieces was the winning goal in the 3-2 defeat of Mighty Jets by Bendel Insurance in the October 21, 1972 Challenge Cup final replay in Ibadan.
He later became the coach of Midwestern State (now Edo and Delta states), leading the academicals’ team to winning the gold medal at the inaugural National Sports Festival in 1973.
He was the head coach when Nigeria stunned the world to become the first winner of the present day FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1985 and thus, the country became the first country outside Europe and South America to win a global football event.
Some of his players then include Nduka Ugbade, Victor Igbinoba, Babatunde Joseph, Bella Momoh, Jonathan Akpoborire, Tonworimi Duere, Binebi Numa, Salisu Nakande and Sani Adamu.
They defeated the then West Germany 2-0 in the final of the inaugural FIFA U16 World Cup at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing.
He also led the team to Canada two years later, before losing to the Soviet Union after penalty shoot-out.