Ibiam, Nigeria’s first goalkeeper is dead.
Ibiam 91, died in the early hours of yesterday at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia, Abia State.
The nation’s pioneer goal tender who hailed from Unwana, Ebonyi State; the same town with the late nationalist, Ezeogo Akanu Ibiam had a flourishing football career that spanned three decades, fifteen of which was with the national team.
Chief Jasper Okoro, a retired footballer and coach who was mentored by the late Sam Ibiam confirmed the death to Daily Sunsports.
Ibiam’s football skill was identified at the Church of Scotland Mission School (CMS) Unwana before he proceeded to Hope Waddel Institute, Calabar.
In 1949, he was the goalkeeper of the first national football team that toured the United Kingdom; playing notable English teams like Liverpool FC.
The team eventually metamorphosed to Green Eagles after the nation’s Independence. He manned the post last for the nation in 1962.
Two notable contemporaries of the late soccer legend were Teslim Balogun and Dan Anyiam.
Chief Okoro described the death as the “exit of the most indefatigable legend of soccer in Nigeria
AS part of activities marking the 120 years of its formation as well as the 30th edition of its annual Gala nite, the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club has bestowed an honorary membership award on the President General of Nigeria Football and other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo.
President of the club, Barrister Rotimi Edu, said the award was in recognition of the numerous contributions made by Ladipo to the development of sports in the country.
“The role the Supporters Club plays to ensure that national teams win their matches cannot be quantified. These are men and women who go out of their way to raise money and follow the national teams wherever they are going and it is important we recognize one individual behind the success of the club,” Edu remarked.
While commending Supporters Club for their patriotism, Edu said he would be delighted to see the club on display at a tennis championship as that would help the growth of the game in the country.
Speaking on the award, Ladipo noted that he was delighted to be found worthy to be honoured by the prestigious club even as he pledged that the cordial relationship existing between the two clubs would be strengthened.
A total of eight eminent Nigerians were honoured by the club which is the premier tennis club in the country.