38 years down the road, where are 1980 Nations Cup heroes now

38 years down the road, where are 1980 Nations Cup heroes now

Last week Thursday, March 22, 2018 it was exactly 38 years Nigeria claimed her first silverware win in the history of the African Nations Cup.

Legit.ng in this exercise, checks out what the 1980 Nations Cup heroes are doing presently years, after putting Nigeria’s name in the record books of Africa’s greatest football fiesta.

1. Best Ogedegbe (Goalkeeper) Passed on

Born in Lagos on September 3, 1954, Best Ogedegbe played as a goalkeeper with Shooting Stars F.C. (now 3SC) most of his career, and was the goalkeeper when Ibadan side won Nigeria's first continental trophy, the African Cup Winners Cup in 1976.

At the national level, Ogedegbe played for the Nigeria national football team (then known as the "Green Eagles") and was a member of the team that won the 1980 African Cup of Nations. Best also had the honour to represent Nigeria at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Upon retirement, Ogedegbe took to coaching and was an assistant coach during the 2008–09 seasons for the defunct Dolphins F.C of Port Harcourt He was also a former assistant with Wikki Tourists and the 2008 Summer Olympics silver medalist team.

Sadly, Ogedegbe died on September, 28 2009 at the age of 55 at the University College Hospital in Ibadan after undergoing eye surgery the previous week. Painfully, he lapsed into a coma following complications from the operation and never recovered.

2. David Adiele (Defender) Alive

Former Bendel Insurance defence ace, David Adiele, 63, was a member of the Green Eagles squad that won the 1980 African Nations Cup and also played for Nigeria in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow

Presently, Adiele is based in Houston, Texas. According to a close pal, the enigmatic defender is doing pretty well in the country.

3. Okey Isima (Defender) Passed on

Born Okechukwu Emmanuel Isima on August 24, 1956 in Sabongeri (City) Kano, hails from Abba Village, Nsugbe in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State.

At the age of 23 while playing for Nigeria Standard of Jos, the ex- Enugu Rangers left back was selected to play for Nigeria at the 1980 African Cup of Nations, the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow as well as the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Libya.

In search of greener pastures, Okey left Nigeria for Portugal in 1981 for Club de Beleness FC, Uniao FC and Vitoria SC respectively.

After a successful football career in Portugal, he relocated to the United States of America.

However, on February 18, 2013, Okey died leaving behind his wife, Mrs. Rita Nwamaka Mbadugha Isima and four children based in (USA); sons: Okey Isima Jr., Izuchukwu Isima Jr. Nonso Isima Jr. and daughter, Nnenne Isima.

4. Muda Lawal (Midfield) Passed on

Popularly known as the Midfield Maestro, Mudashiru Babatunde "Muda" Lawal was born in Abeokuta, Ogun state on June 8, 1954 in Abeokuta played as a midfielder for both Shooting Stars FC (Now 3SC) and country.

Interestingly, Muda previously worked as a mechanic before his football talents were discovered, before making his Eagles’ debut in 1975.

Within the same year, he joined Shooting Stars F.C. of Ibadan, with whom he represented for many years.

However, one of his greatest achievements with the Ibadan outfit came in 1976, when he helped the club win their first continental honour, winning the African Cup Winners Cup – the first Nigerian team to claim the title. Aside that he was also a member of the 1980 African Nations Cup in Lagos that guided Nigeria to her first African Nations Cup title.

At the last count, Muda made the Eagles’ number 4 his personal property for 11 years, winning 86 caps alongside scoring 12 goals for the Eagles. The midfield jewel also holds the record of being the only player on the continent to have appeared at five consecutive Nations' Cup finals (1976–1984) and also played at the Summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980.

After excelling on the pitch, Muda returned to Shooting Stars seasons latter as a coach.

Sadly, he died at a young age 37 on July 6, 1991 in his Ibadan home.

5. Christian Chukwu (Defender) Alive

Enugu Rangers defence ace, Christian Chukwu Okoro was born on January 4, 1951 and captained Nigeria to her first win in the African Nations Cup in 1980 after a 3-0 bashing of Algeria in the final.

A defender of repute during his playing days, Chukwu was fondly known as ‘Chairman’ by fans and admirers and was greatly adored.

After retiring from active play, Chukwu turned to coaching in Lebanon in the mid-1990s, before being named Kenya’s national team coach in 1998.

Despite failing to qualify the Eagles’ for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Chukwu remains a football heavyweight and a big stakeholder both at the national level as well as club level.

As a member of Enugu Rangers board, the Coal-City outfit emerged champions of the Nigeria Premier Football League in 2016/17 for the first time in 20 seasons; a feat that still ‘Chairman’ till date.

6. Tunde Bamidele (Defender) Passed on

Former Taraba United defender, Tunde Bamidele was born on May 13, 1953 and earned 10 caps for Nigeria between 1980 and 1982. Tunde also played for Raccah Rovers of Kano represented Nigeria in the 1980 and 1982 African Cup of Nations finals and in 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Painfully, the cold hands of death snatched Tunde away in 1997.

To some of his former colleagues, he used to be a calm and calculative player in the heart of Eagles’ defence line. However, some others believe he was the team’s hard-tackling destroyer while Chukwu cleared up the mess.

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7. Segun Odegbami (Midfielder) Alive

Born Patrick Olusegun Odegbami on August 27, 1952 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, he was however brought up in the northern city of Jos, Plateau state.

Odegbami was a member of the 1980 African Nations Cup and was fondly known as ‘Mathematical’ by fans and admirers for his precise style of play while running down the flanks.

Further researches however revealed that the original source of the nickname ‘Mathematical’ was because Segun graduated as an Engineer from The Polytechnic, Ibadan.

Till date, Odegbami is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time that had the honour to wear the green and white colours of Nigeria.

In total, Odegbami won 46 caps, as well as scoring 23 times for the Eagles, as Nigeria claimed her first Africa Cup of Nations silverware in Lagos.

‘Mathematical’, who was also famous while playing for IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan from 1970 to 1984, took a bow from the game after the 1984 African Champions Cup final defeat to Zamalek of Egypt.

In September 2015, the former Eagles captain revealed his intention to run for FIFA presidency but nothing came out of it in the end.

Currently, Odegbami is a columnist with Nigeria’s top sports newspaper, Complete Sports and doing well.

8. Aloysius Atuegbu (Forward) Passed on

Enugu Rangers maestro, Aloysious Ikem Atuegbu was born in Jos, Plateau state on April 29, 1953.

Fondly known as ‘Blockbuster’ for his ferocious shots with which he tore apart opponents’ defence in both club and country, he was an important member of the Eagles set-up from 1975 until 1981, winning 60 caps in the process.

After calling it quit with the round-leather game, the former Mighty Jets and Ranchers Bees ace got into coaching, including a stint with the Golden Eaglets.

Sadly, while still coaching at Keffi United FC, death snatched away the ‘Blockbuster’ on May 25, 2008 at the age 55.

To some of his ex-teammates, Atuegbu, in action, was full of running and a tireless worker in the middle of the pack.

9. Felix Owolabi (Midfield) Alive

Fondly known as ‘Owo-blow’ among football enthusiast, the ex-Shooting Stars left winger, Felix Owolabi was born on January 24, 1956.

He had the privilege to represent Nigeria at the 1978 and 1980 editions of the African Cup of Nations with the Green Eagles. While he picked a bronze in his debut in 1978, he won the top prize on home soil in 1980 and also played at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Before teaming up Shooting Stars, he played for Kaduna Rocks and Raccah Rovers of Kano, but spent more years(15) with the Ibadan side since 1992, helping them win the CAF Cup (now known as the CAF Confederation Cup).

Owo-blow, a retired civil servant with the Oyo State Government, currently resides in Ibadan and is a holder of a doctorate degree in Physical education.

10. Godwin Odiye (Defender) Alive

Born in Lagos in April 1956, Gowin Odiye attended St Paul's School, Ebute Metta, before switching to Eko Boys and then later St Finbarr's, Akoka.

While at St Finbarrs, Odiye played as a left-half back and was very efficient and effective for the Nigerian Academicals team that beat Ghana in 1975; a feat that saw Odiye recruited by scouts from University of San Francisco in 1978 to play collegiate soccer.

As a member of the 1976 and 1980 African Cup of Nations squads, Odiye made several appearances for the then Green Eagles, including FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

Pitifully, Odiye’s career was truncated at national level after an unfortunate ‘scar’ incident at the National Stadium, Lagos saw him score an own goal in a 1978 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Tunisia. To most football fans of his era, once a defender scores an own goal, it is called an Odiye goal’.

Presently, the 63-year-old is into youth coaching in the USA and some ex-mates insist Odiye was a dependable, hard and fast player to face in a football game.

11. Adokiye Amiesimaka (Forward) Alive

Born on November 23, 1956 Adokiye Amiesimaka was a law student at the University of Lagos while playing for the Enugu Rangers.

Adokiye renowned for playing as a winger on the left of midfield, the former ACB and Sharks winger was a nightmare to opponents’ defence with his pace and fast dribbling runs during his career. A member of the victorious Green Eagles squad that won gold at the African Cup of Nations in 1980, Adokiye also played at the soccer finals of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Popularly known as ‘Chief Justice’, the Rivers-state born Adokiye also represented Nigeria in both the 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Currently based in Port Harcourt, the former Chairman of defunct Sharks Football Club of Port Harcourt, was also a former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in the state, having served previously as Director of Public Prosecution in Rivers State.

To ex-mates, the right-footed Adokiye mastered the art of playing from the left wing, caresses with grace and is elegant on the ball. To cap it all, ‘Chief Justice’ was a great crosser of the ball irrespective of the opposition.

12. Moses Effiong (Goalkeeper) Alive

Born on October 4, 1959, Moses Effiong was 20-years-old when Green Eagles’ Brazilian Coach, Otto Gloria gave him the nod as the third goalkeeper ahead of the 1980 African Nation Cup on homeland.

During the tourney, Effiong did not play a single minute as actions where hard to come by. The qualities possessed by the duo of Ogedegbe and Okala in goal for Nigeria were simply above class back in the days.

Prior to the tournament, the 1.65 m tall Moses was on the books of Nigerian domestic league side, defunct Sharks F.C of PH.

However, after winning the tournament with the Eagles’, the 1.65 m tall Moses returned to club football and showcased some of the goalkeeping skills he couldn’t show at the Nations Cup.

At the last count, he won the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup back-to-back in 1983 and 1984, the domestic league title in 1985 season and the Champion of Champion silverwares with the Benin-based, New Nigerian bank.

Effiong, also had stints at defunct Sharks F.C and Shooting Stars F.C (now 3SC) before retiring from the game.

After quitting the round-leather game, the goaltender, followed a familiar path like most of his colleagues and ventured into coaching in the South-South zone of the country where he managed clubs like Garden-City based Michelin FC for two eras, (2003-2005), and Bussdor (2009) before returning to home state, Akwa Ibom in 2013 to handle Akpabio Stars.

13. Emmanuel Okala (Goalkeeper) Alive

Emmanuel Oguajiofor Okala was born on May 17, 1951 in Onitsha, Anambra state and enjoyed a youthful career with the Onitsha Red Devils from 1966–1970.

Popularly known as ‘Man Mountain’ during his heydays, the 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) tall Okala joined Enugu Rangers (1971-1980) and was scouted for the Green Eagles while in action for the Flying Antelopes’ in the domestic league.

At the national team, Okala was tipped by most fans’ as top choice to start in goal during the matches, but ended up playing catch up to Ogedegbe, who mostly got the nod to start in goal from coach, Otto Gloria.

Despite all the challenges he faced in his career, Okala won countless individual awards as a goalkeeper and was feared by opposing attacker during his spell.

After a memorable career that saw him win the Nations Cup in 1980, Okala bowed out of the game and has remained closely with former club, Enugu Rangers working in various capacities. At 66 years, ‘Man Mountain’ is still bubbling and continuously nurturing youngsters who have taken to football as source of livelihood.

14. Sylvanus Okpala (Defensive Midfielder) Alive

Born Sylvanus Okpala on September 5, 1961, At 18, in 1980, he was the among the youngest members of the Nations Cup winning Green Eagles and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

A combative midfielder par-excellence, Okpala fondly known as ‘Quick Silver’ among fans and admirers was discovered while playing for Enugu Rangers in the 70s.

Later in his career, Okpala exported his trade to Portugal, where he turned out for C.S. Marítimo and C.D. Nacional in the Portuguese Liga.

Upon retirement, Okpala went into coaching and today is among the privileged few who had the honour of winning the Nations Cup as a player (1980) and as a coach (assistant coach to Late Stephen Keshi during AFCON 2013 triumph).

Some members of the Nations Cup believe ‘Quick Silver’ was versatile, an all-round player and very strong headed.

Currently, at 61 years, you will likely sight Okpala turning up at FESTAC 23 Road ground where he passes football skills and knowledge to youngsters at the grassroots’.

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15. Ifeanyi Onyedika (Centre Forward/Midfielder) Alive

Ifeanyi Onyedika was a member of the famous Enugu Rangers gang that dominated Nigeria’s domestic football in the 70’s.

At the Nations Cup in 1980, Onyedika’s goal against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars opened the way for the 3-1 bashing the East Africans received from the Green Eagles at the end of duration time.

Painfully, the young Onyedika, a centre-forward of repute while in action for the Flying Antelopes was nowhere to found soon the euphoria that greeted the Nations Cup triumph died down.

Some of Onyedika’s ex-mates at the Green Eagles’ say the greatest skill he employs in unlocking defences, is that he is a fast thinker with enormous skills that leaves opposing defenders speechless.

Just like most members of the 1980 winning squad, Onyedika took to coaching after hanging his boots. At one point he was in charge of affairs at Abia Warriors (twice), Enyimba, Ebonyi Angels and Wikki Tourists to mention a few.

16. Martin Eyo (Forward) Passed on

Born on January 4, 1956, Martin Eyo was a fringe player at 24 for the Nations Cup team in 1980.

Eyo, to large extent combined academics and football, but was never short of quality whenever called upon; he usually delivered the goods for the team.

Sadly, the Julius Berger of Lagos ace was allegedly gunned down by unknown persons on March 11, 2002 close to his FESTAC Town residence, an incident that was reportedly linked to assassination in several quarters.

However, his wife, Dr. Mary Uyo, maintained that the late Eyo fell to armed robbers bullets, who visited the neighbourhood on the fateful day.

To one of his ex-mates, “Eyo was good with both feet, he was fast, and also had a unique dribbling style that was threat to defenders.”

17. John Orlando (Defender) Alive

John Orlando was born on October 15, 1960, a Ghanaian by birth, but the former Shooting Stars player switched allegiance was chosen to represent Nigeria at 19 during the 1980 Nations Cup.

At the tournament, Johnny was a mere team member as he never made match day squad.

However, after the triumph, Johnny saw action in all Nigeria’s three-games at the Summer Olympics in Moscow.

After quitting the game, Johnny is presently into youth coaching in the United States of America, but still finds time to shuttle between Nigeria and Ghana.

Some former Eagles mates are still in the dark on how Johnny ‘gatecrashed’ the 1980 Nations Cup squad.

18. Shefiu Mohammed (Forward) Alive

Shefiu Mohammed was born on May 20, 1996 and was a 23-year-old forward for Racca Rovers FC of Kano before he was invited to the 1980 Nations Cup squad.

After quitting football, Shefiu relocated to his home state of Taraba. Till date, he is still struggling to find his feet after all the glamour that surrounded his active days as a footballer.

Shefiu, to ex-mates was full of running and always a threat to opposition attackers, no thanks to his ‘hard tackles’.

19. Charles Bassey (Forward) Alive

Charles Bassey was discovered for the great Rovers’ squad of the 70’s in the 1980 Nations Cup team; he remained a fringe player due to the avalanche of talents in the Eagles’ squad. However, Bassey has knack for taking unexpected shots that usually results to goal.

After quitting active football, Bassey remained in Calabar and environs where he has been working silently at the grassroots’.

20. Henry Nwosu (Midfielder) Alive

Henry Onyemanze Nwosu was born on June 14, 1963 and was the youngest members of the African Nations Cup triumph on home soil.

Nwosu spent his football career at New Nigeria Bank (NNB) of Benin City and African Continental Bank (ACB) of Lagos, but later had stints with ASEC Mimosas FC of Ivory Coast and Racing FC Bafoussam of Cameroon.

At the 1980 Nations Cup, Nwosu was a member of the winning squad and scored Nigeria’s only goal at the 1980 Olympics.

Nwosu also played in the three successive tournaments, 1982, 1984 and 1988. In total, he finished with the runners up medal in the latter two, while the last game he played for the Eagles was in 1991.

Nwosu, like most of his ex-Eagles mates took to coaching and was an assistant for former Eagles teammate, Samson Siasia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where Nigeria won the silver medal

Nwosu, was also an assistant to Festus Onigbinde to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan.

Although, he was appointed Golden Eaglets’ coach his tenure was short-lived due to poor results during preparations for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Later, Nwosu had spells at domestic amateur clubs that include Union Bank as well as Gateway United F.C. of Abeokuta.

Presently, Nwosu is usually found at the Union Bank ground on Bode Thomas, Surulere where he still find time to pass skills to youngsters as well as keep fit with the All Stars.

21. Franck Onwuachi (Midfielder) Alive

Frank Onwuachi did not get to play any game during the Nations Cup triumph in 1980 but he played at the Moscow Olympics but kept his best for club football where as a 1978 University of Lagos Banking and Finance graduate, won the Lagos FA Cup with ACB 1985 before quitting the game that brought his and mates so much honour.

After retiring from the game, he tried out mortgage banking, before heading to the United States of America from where shuttles across both countries till date.

22. Kadiri Ikhana (Defender) Alive

The former Bendel Insurance hard-tackling defender was born on December 31, 1951 and made the all-conquering 1980 Nations Cup squad at 28. Ikhana was also in action for Nigeria at Moscow’s summer Olympics in 1980.

After retiring from the game in 1986, the Edo-state born took to coaching like most of his colleagues in the Nations Cup squad.

At the last count, the 66-year-old who had a brief stint in 1996 at Bangladesh side, Mohammedan Sporting as well as managing the likes of El-Kanemi Warriors, BCC Lions, Kwara United, Sunshine Stars, Sharks and Giwa.

Others are Enyimba, where he was awarded CAF's Coach of the Year in 2003.

Ikhana also had a chance to manage Nigeria’s women's national team when he was appointed in April 2012 but threw in the towel months later.

The highly experienced football tactician also had time to join 3SC in February 2016 before returning to familiar ground at Kano Pillars in November 2016.

Sadly, during his second spell at Pillars, Ikhana was given the boots and has remained on the sidelines ever since.

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