FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
[email protected]
Belgium
ADIEU TO GEORGE OMOKARO, THE OFFENSIVE MID-FIELDER OF YORE!
George Omokaro

y memories of George Omokaro, date back to 1977, when as a highly skilled offensive mid-fielder, he plied his trade with the "Bendel Insurance Football club" of Benin. At that time, he was a member of the "Super Eagles of Nigeria", then known as the "Green Eagles"!

He was a regular member of the then mid-field trio, in a 4-3-3 formation, employed by his club and country.

At the national team level, he was a member of the then "Green Eagles" of Nigeria, that won the gold medal in the senior men's soccer division, at the maiden edition of the "West African games," in 1977. In that epic final, the then "Green Eagles", captained by Emmanuel Okala, alias "Man Montain", defeated the vociferous "Black Stars" of Ghana, 2-1. In the lead-up to the final match, the Ghanaians, apparently, not under the impression of the results obtained by the then "Green Eagles," in the earlier matches, boasted of their belief in their chances of success in the final match, for the prestigious soccer gold medal! Considering the 'eternal' rivalry between both nations, in soccer, the final match promised to be a helluvah clash between both nations. Indeed it was , as both nations went all out for the gold medal, like it was a FIFA World cup final match! The match was tough, but at the end of the day, the Ghanaians were subdued. George Omokaro, was a lynch pin of the Super Eagles' mid-field organisation, under tutelage of Coach "Father" Tiko, that played a key role in defeating the Ghanaians!

At club level, he was a key member of the all-conquering "Bendel Insurance Football Club" of Benin, that took the Nigerian soccer scene by storm, in the late eighties, and held sway till the early nineties!

One remembers the 1978 "Challenge Cup " final, ( = FA cup final), between "Bendel Insurance Football Club" of Benin, and the then 'almighty' "Rangers International Football Club" of Enugu.

In that epic final match, the "Bendel Insurance" team coached by Coach Alabi Aisien, subdued the "Rangers Football " team, 3-0! To formerly take over the mantle of Nigeria's soccer leadership from "Rangers Football Club" of Enugu!

In that epic final clash, one remembers the line-up of "Bendel Insurance":

Goalkeeper Agwo Nnaji, was in goal. The defenders were: David Adiele, right back; Kadiri Ikhana, then known as Audu Kadiri, left back. Francis Monidafe, was centre-half back and Leotis Boateng, was left-half back.

The three-man mid-field were: Skipper Felix Agbonifo, defensive mid-fielder; George Omokaro, right-sided offensive mid-fielder and Peter Egharevba, left-sided offensive mid-fieder.

The offensive trio were: Chris Ogu, right winger; Rufus Ejele, left winger and the indefatigable, irrepressible, stamina-full, left-footed, block-bursting central striker: Henry Ogboe!

And of course not to forget the other "Bendel Insurance" players, who played a role in 1978 and in the other years: Peter Izebvigie, alias "Omo the tailor", a nick name earned because of his peculiar dribbling ability; Tony Oviawe, the quintessential left winger; the speedy Prince Afejuku, another quintessential left winger; Godwin Obasuyi, alias "Shakara"; Sam Okpodu, the right winger; Rashid, the Afro-haired mid-field super star; Francis Nwosu, alias "German wall"; the tall goalkeeper, Abdul Wahab Haruna; John Omughele; Clement Temile; Ibrahim Alkali Dafe; Tarila Okorowanta, alias "Tarek" or "Superbrat"; Sunny Oyarekhua; Victor Oduah, who once captained the then "Green Eagles " of Nigeria, now known as the "Super Eagles of Nigeria"! And of course the other beautiful "Bendel Insurance" players, who cannot be remembered because of limitations of the human memory. Needless saying yours sincerely was a great fan of "Bendel Insurance Football Club" of Benin!

The footprints left by George Omokaro, not only in the evolution of mid-field play in Nigeria soccer, but in the evolution of Nigerian soccer generally, cannot be wiped away! He was indeed a Nigerian soccer legend!

In conclusion, may his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, find eternal rest in the Lord's bosom. Amen !!!! My sincerest condolences to his family.

Cyril C. Nwokeji is the author of the book: "Super Eagles of Nigeria: Pride of Africa", presently on sale on www. Amazon.comhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1976765951/ref=sr_1_7

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-nigeria

The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-nigeria

The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary

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