Connect with us

Nigerian Football

OLDEST FORMER NFF GENERAL SECRETARY ALIVE CLOCKS 86

Published

on

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

He may not be well known as he headed the administration of the Nigerian football governing body in the ‘ancient past’.

At a time, it was even a subject of debate if he was ever a general secretary at the then Nigeria Football Association as his name was conspicuously missing on the board at NFF Secretariat, which listed past administrators.

Herbert Omokhaye was the secretary of the NFA from 1964 to 1965 when he was seconded to the association from the just established National Sports Council (NSC), which transformed into National Sports Commission in 1970.

Omokhaye clocks 86 this Wednesday as the oldest former scribe of Nigerian football still alive.

Advertisement

From Nigeria’s files in the archives of FIFA, it was Omokhaye that responded to correspondence by from the world body regarding a fixture of Nigeria and Morocco in the Tokyo 1964 Olympic qualifiers.

Letter to FIFA signed by Albert Omokhaye in 1965.

From the same archival materials, www.sportsvillagesquare.com gathers the correspondence to FIFA by the late Abraham Ordia when Omokhaye resigned from both the NSC and the NFA.

August 17, 1965 letter by NSC notifying FIFA that Herbert Omokhaye had assumed position as acting secretary of the NFA.

December 8, 1965 letter to FIFA, notifying that Herbert Omokhaye had left the services of the Nigeria Football Association.

Advertisement

Omokhaye played as a defender in the Challenge Cup finals in the 1950s for Lagos UAC and the Federal United which was a model club that some influential Nigerians in Lagos established.

Herbert Omokhaye, (fourth from left in the front row) as a left full back for Lagos UAC in the 1950 Challenge Cup. On the extreme left is Peter ‘Eto’ Amaechina who later became Green Eagles’ coach.

Omokhaye’s football career started when he was a member of the Methodist Boys High School in 1950 from where he joined the Lagos UAC club as a left-sided defender in 1951 before moving to SCOA in 1955.

He featured for the then model club, Federal United in the Challenge Cup final of 1958 before retiring in 1961 to begin a career in sports administration.

Herbert Omokhaye as match commissioner in 2009.

Advertisement

He became the general secretary of the then Lagos Amateur Football Association (LAFA) in 1962 from where he moved to the newly established NSC in 1964.

It was then he was seconded to the NFA. According to him, he became a referee in 1969 and rose to the top grade in 1975. He retired as a referee in 1981 and became a match commissioner in 1982.

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

Published

on

Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

Advertisement

“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

Published

on

Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

Advertisement

“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

Published

on

New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed