Nigeria’s AFCON Stories Episode 7 – Egypt 1986 By Henry Nwosu

Biodata

Full Name: Henry Onyemanze Nwosu (MON)
Date of Birth: 16th October, 1960
Nicknames: None
Start of Football Career: In Surulere, Lagos as a toddler
Clubsides Played For: Bjosons FC, Lagos; Wema Bank, lagos; Johnson Whyte, Lagos; New Nigeria Bank (NNB), Benin; African Continental Bank (ACB), Lagos; Stade Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; ASEC Mimosas, Cote d’Ivoire; Racing Club de Baffousam, Cameroun
Club Honours Won: CBN Cups with NNB; League winner and Bendel State Challenge Cups with ACB and NNB; Ivorien FA Cup (Asec Mimosas); Cameroun League and FA Cup with Racing Baffousam; WAFU Cup with NNB (twice).
National Team Honours: 1980 Nations Cup Gold, 1988 Nations Cup Silver.
Start of National Team Career: 1979
Opponents/Event: Vs Eastern Europe (friendly), Nigeria won 2-1 and I scored the first goal
First Nations Cup Appearance: 1980 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Most Memorable Event: National team debut

Nigeria's AFCON Stories Episode 7 - Egypt 1986 By Henry Nwosu 1

 

1986 NATIONS CUP

We were Like Orphans!

I will also like to talk briefly about how we failed to qualify for the 1986 Nations Cup finals in Egypt. We lost to Zambia again in the qualifiers leading to the 1986 competition. We played 1-1 in Lagos and drew 0-0 in Lusaka, and thus lost out on the way goals rule.

PREPARATION AND SQUAD SELECTION

The team was a mixture of old and young players. Despite my young age (25 then), I was about the oldest. The likes of Samson Siasia, Osaro Obobaifo, Waidi Akanni and others from the Under-20 Flying Eagles were just coming in. We were rebuilding the team again, as we usually did then after any major competition. Apart from that, the NFA didn’t give us any chance or support. We had just three balls to train with, and no team bus. We were like orphans, abandoned totally to our own fate.

We were driving to training in four vehicles as we didn’t have a team bus. As the captain, I brought my two cars then – a Peugeot 504 and Peugeot 505 which I gave to the team to use. Tarila Okorowanta would take some players in the ‘504’ while I took some others in the ‘505’. Ganiyu Salami the assistant coach, would use his ‘504’ to carry some players while chief coach Paul Hamilton would carry even more players with his personal bus.

We did everything on our own at our camp at the Games Village in Eric Moore, Surulere, Lagos. Somebody came in then and cracked a joke that the NFA chairman was Hamilton, the vice chairman Salami and I, Nwosu was the secretary. No one was interested in the team.
Nigerians were in a hurry to get results yet the NFA didn’t give us any support. Many of the 1984 silver medal winning side travelled out for professional football like Stephen Keshi going to Cote d’Ivoire. Others went to study in America while some others just fizzled out of the national scene.

The NFA chairman then was Group Captain Tony Ikhazoboh.
The Zambians who stopped us from qualifying for the 1986 Nations Cup were not a strong side but we didn’t prepare well and we weren’t motivated. For me as the captain, it was a horrible experience and I felt really bad losing to Zambia again, after being knocked out of the 1982 Nations Cup by them.
I regretted not being able to qualify the team for the 1986 finals, though I made up for that at the 1988 edition.

THE SQUAD

GOALKEEPER: Peter Fregene (NEPA, Lagos), Best Ogedegbe (Abiola, Abeokuta).
DEFENDERS: Charles Nyanchio (NNPC, Kaduna), Stephen Keshi (NNB, Benin), Tunde Bamidele (IICC, Ibadan), Okey Isima (Rangers, Enugu), Leotis Boateng (Insurance, Benin), Kenneth Boardman (Rangers, Enugu); MIDFIELDERS: Anthony Orji (Rangers, Enugu), Muda Lawal (cpt) (Abiola, Abeokuta),Ademola Adesina (IICC, Ibadan), Henry Nwosu (NNB, Benin); FORWARDS: Fatai Yekini (Standard, Jos), Emmanuel Osigwe (Rangers, Enugu), Felix Owolabi (IICC, Ibadan), Augustine Fregene (Berger, Lagos), Richard Owubokiri (ACB, Lagos), Adegoke Adelabu (IICC, Ibadan), Christian Ogbodo (Rangers, Enugu), Wakilu Oyenuka (Stores, Lagos).
COACH: Otto Gloria (Brazil); Peter “Eto” Amaechina, Isiaka Yakubu.

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