A pall of darkness has fallen on the fast depleting class of Nigeria’s former international footballers as Ismaila Mabo is reported dead this Monday morning.
Ismaila Mabo who featured for the Mighty Jets of Jos when the club was at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s was reported by Nigerian newspaper, Blueprint to have died in the early hours of Monday morning.
He had been ill for sometime before passing on at age 80. He was among the jinx-breaking Nigerian school boys who beat Ghana for the first time in Accra.
In the then annual Dowuona-Hammond Cup donated by the Ghana’s Minister of Education for contests between the Nigeria-Academicals and their Ghanaian counterparts, Nigeria beat Ghana 1-0 in Accra on 13 February 1966.
It was a milestone as it was the first time any Nigerian team had beaten Ghana on home soil. Ismaila Mabo was the central defender of the Nigerian team that followed up on 19 February 1966 with 2-1 win Lagos to complete a double over Ghana first time.
The feat opened the national team doors for most of the school boys. Among whom were Tony Igwe, Peter Anieke, Sam Garba Okoye, Eyo Essien among others.
Mabo later coached the Nigerian women’s team, the Super Falcons to their best ever outing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999 where they reached the quarter-finals.