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Nigerian Football

Remembering Israel Adebajo, 54 years after…

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

How time flies! It is 54 years today that one of the iconic Nigerian football figures passed on. Yet, as it had been in the past 53 years, the date passed on without those in football governing body taking not.

This Tuesday marks yet another anniversary of the passing on of Israel Adebajo, the founder of the oldest surviving club in Nigeria, Stationary Stores FC of Lagos.

Till the last decade, the Stationery Stores, which he founded from the ashes of Oluwole Philips FC in 1958 was Nigeria’s most fanatically supported sports club.

He established the Nigerian Office Stationery Supplies Stores which football arm, was simply called Stationery Stores. It has appellations such as “Flaming Flamingos”, “Super Stores” and Adebajo Babes”.

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Adebajo, one of the pillars of the Nigeria Football Association in the late 1950s to the middle of 1960s, died on 25 July 1969, few weeks before Stationery Stores’ final match in the then Challenge Cup

The famed Super Stores drew players and fans across the country and sometimes too, from Ghana and other West African countries. He had what could be the first professional club in Nigeria as players were drawn from near and wide.

So strong was his club that it supplied nine of the starting eleven for Nigeria at the Mexico 1968 Olympics which was the first time Nigerian footballers had the opportunity to grace a global stage.

Even with nine of the Stores’ players representing Nigeria in Mexico, the club still had enough pool of talents to continue in domestic football competition.

In the March 26, 1961 election into the Nigeria Football Association, Israel Adebajo emerged as the treasurer of the football governing body.

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He nurtured the Super Stores to win the Challenge Cup twice in a row and was at the brink of a hat trick in 1969 before his death dealt a devastating blow on the club.

Apart from the now discontinued Manuwa/Adebajo Cup for national competition for school boys from the states, no honour had been bestowed on Adebajo who was one of the founders of modern football clubs in Nigeria.

In the past, he had to share the national schools football platform with Dr. Samuel Manuwa.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigerian women coaches conclude first module of CAF C-License course

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NFF President Gusau and GS Sanusi with NFF Management and the coach educators and participants at the commencement of the course on Monday last week.

A total of 30 women coaches have concluded the first of a three-module CAF C-License program in the Federal Capital, Abuja and are expected to commence a two-week internship with different teams in a few days.

Peopled largely by former Nigerian internationals and other serving coaches, the group was taken through a full week of rigorous classroom and practical sessions by a team of coach educators and resource persons, in a baptism of what the next two modules are likely to entail,

NFF Technical Director, Coach Augustine Eguavoen, told thenff.com that the first module has shown that the women coaches are actually desirous of learning.

“I am very much impressed with their attitude, mannerisms and conduct through the first module. They impressed everyone, and the coach educators also told me they were impressed, and are looking forward to having them back for the second and concluding modules.

“We are grateful for the leadership of the NFF for the support and encouragement for coach-education programmes all the time.”

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The participants will return to Abuja for the second module that is scheduled for 12th – 20th August, after which they will go on another two-week internship, 23rd August – 4th September. The third module, which comes with examinations for the participants, will take place 9th – 19th September.

Dr. Terry Babatunde Eguaoje, NFF’s Head of Education, is among the coach educators’ team, which also includes Coaches Isah Ladan Bosso, Wemimo Olanrewaju and Lanrence Ndaks.

Among the 30 participants are former Super Falcons’ stars Precious Dede, Joy Jegede, Esther Michael, Maureen Eke, Otas Ogbonmwan, Vera Okolo, Cecilia Nku, Taiwo Ajobiewe, Gloria Ofoegbu and Amenze Aighewi. There are also Barr. Victoria Nlemigbo and retired FIFA referee Folusho Ajayi.   

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Osimhen’s outburst was a moment of madness, says Amaju

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President and a  FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has expressed shock at last month’s outburst by Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen against Finidi George.

“It is very unfortunate”, Amaju Pinnick remarked on an Arise Television programme. The former NFF president said he had put a call to Osimhen who was very remorseful while the telephone conversation lasted.

  “I told him he has to apologise, and I am sure he will if he has not yet done so.” Amaju remarked that he could not comprehend what went wrong as Osimhen was the most cool-headed player in the national team.

He went on to remark that Finidi George was not a personality to be disregarded like that. He has won virtually every honour available during his playing days and was a member of the Super Eagles at their peak when Nigeria ranked fifth in the world.

“I believe players should learn to respect their coaches”, said the former NFF boss.

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I prefer a foreign coach for the Super Eagles, says Amaju

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Nigeria’s FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has told the world that he has always been an advocate of foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. He spoke on Arise Television while fielding questions with Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Ayo Mairo-Ese. 

His reason for being averse to indigenous  coaches stemmed from lack of respect for them by the players.

“Yes, the Nigerian coaches have the requisite knowledge and the technical ability, but modern football is beyond that in managing players.

“Will the national team players respect the coach? The sad thing is that they don’t”, said Amaju Pinnick.

 He however revealed that he supported the appointment of Finidi George owing to the circumstances that the NFF found itself after the exit of Jose Peseiro.

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 The NFF, he revealed, had no money to hire a foreign coach. The body therefore went for the most available option, Finidi to ensure a smooth transition.

 “Finidi was part of the coaching crew of Peseiro and it was therefore logical to ask him to continue.

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