THIS DAY IN HISTORY: FIRST NIGERIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM RETURNS HOME

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: FIRST NIGERIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM RETURNS HOME
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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

On this date 12 October in 1949, the Nigeria’s national football team, then simply tagged as ‘UK Tourists’ returned to the country after nearly two months.

The squad comprising 18 players left aboard RMSS Apapa on 16 August 1949. But only 17 returned with the MV Accra which brought them back to Lagos harbour on 12 October 1949.

Etim Richard Henshaw, the captain of the side had reasons to stay back to train as marine engineer in the UK.

After the conclusion of their matches with the amateur clubs in the United Kingdom, the team departed from Liverpool on 29 September 1949.

The MV Accra ship that brought Nigeria’s first
national team steadying to dock at the Apapa Port
on October 12, 1949.

 On the return voyage, they had stopover in Freetown and played their first international match against their hosts, Sierra Leone on 8 October 1949. The Nigerian side won, 2-0.

The team arrived Apapa Port in Lagos four days later. As the MV “Accra” glided up on Lagos lagoon at about 3pm, enthusiastic crowd were around to welcome them.