The Vice-President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Solomon Ogba has paid glowing tribute to late Godwin Etemike who died recently, describing him as the father of football in Mid-Western state, and one of the fathers of football in Nigeria.
Etemike who was former Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) player and coach, died in Warri, Delta State aged 85.
The late Etemike also distinguished himself as a homegrown coach and was crucial to Bendel Insurance winning the National Challenge Cup (now Aiteo Cup) in an epic 1972 final that ended 3-2 in favour of ‘the Benin Arsenals’.
His coaching exploits did not end with Bendel Insurance as he was also the architect of other notable clubs including defunct NNPC Warri and Sharks of Port Harcourt.
In a tribute issued on Monday, Ogba wrote; “The Mid-West, indeed Nigeria has lost a genuine lover of football who gave his all for the beautiful.
“He was selfless, patriotic and empathic.
“As a Super Eagles star, he was ready to die for the jersey on the field of play, as one of the coaches that ensure we won the Afcon in 1980 the late Etemike endured sleepless nights to ensure we succeeded.
“We have lost a great Nigerian.”
He recalled that it was Etemike who assembled the team that gave Nigeria her first continental title in 1980.
“It was Etemike that took Christian Chukwu and others to Brazil a few months to the 1980 Afcon before Otto Glory was appointed to take over of the team,” he said.
Ogba recalled Etemike playing career in the colours of Stationery Stores FC of Lagos and then WNDC which later changed to IICC Shooting Stars FC of Ibadan, now 3SC and Plateau X1, and his days in the Super Eagles alongside greats like Eto Amaechina, Amusa Shittu, and Thunder Balogun.
“He was one of our best and he played alongside the best players in Nigeria in his days.
“If he had been playing today he would have played for the best clubs in the world.”
“His coaching career was no less illustrious.
“He was the first Chief Coach of Mid-West Director of Sports, he led Bendel Insurance FC as chief coach to win the 1972 FA Cup against Mighty Jets of Jos with great players like Sebastian Broderick, Tony Ottah, Sam Ikeji, Victor Oduah, Peter Egharevba.”
“Others clubs he coached are NNPC Warri, Sharks of Port Harcourt, Asaba Textiles Ethiope FC, Ika Rangers and NNB FC.
“Nigeria has lost a great man and his death is a huge blow to the Mid-West and indeed the sports family in Nigeria,” said Ogba.