Nigeria’s First Football Goalkeeper Dies (Photos)

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90-year-old first ever goalkeeper for the Nigerian national football team, Sam Henshaw Ibiam, is dead.


The resourceful team player who was fondly called ‘The Black Magnet’ or ‘The Cat’, played as a goalkeeper for the pioneer Nigerian national football team, the Red Devils. Although the cause of his death has not been made known, the retired goaltender died today, Wednesday, December 2, according to Gongnews.

Speaking in a telephone interview, the general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Sanusi Mohammed said, “we heard from third party source, pulled a call through and his son confirmed it. For us, we thank God for a worthy life he lived.

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His records in the first national team remains sterling and excellent. Certainly, we shall participate in the burial arrangements by the time the family comes up with the programme of activities. It is our prayer that God will grant him eternal rest. We also send our condolences to his family.”

The legendary goal keeper only conceded just five goals in his nine years of representing Nigeria till he retired from international football in 1958. As Nigeria’s first national goalkeeper, Pa Sam Ibiam dazzled millions with his wizardry on the field of play and brought immense honour to the country. But in his old age, he was said to have been abandoned.

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The late goalkeeper who also served as head coach for the Aba XI team was left alone in a bungalow at Unwana, a sleepy community in Afikpo, Ebonyi state. This was after his home was bombed during the civil war and it has since remained dilapidated. He lives in a small house attached to the bombed building.

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He however got succour recently during a special edition of MTN’s Who wants to be a millionaire? The 87-year-old (at that time) sporting hero went home with a cheque of one million Naira, and a 5.5KV generator after being helped by the duo of Azuh Arinze, editor of National Encomium, and popular actress, Stephanie Okereke.

May his soul rest in perfect peace!

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