By Emmanuel Afonne
The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, has described Ismaila Mabo, the late former coach of the Super Falcons, as a giant in the world of Nigerian football.
A statement issued on Monday by Toyin Ibitoye, Special Assistant, Media, to Dare, quoted him as saying this while mourning the death of the coach.
Mabo died in the early hours of Monday in Jos, Plateau State, at the age of 80.
He started as a schoolboy international with the Nigeria academicals team that broke the jinx of Ghana’s domination in academy football.
The Nigerian team featuring Mabo, defeated Ghana’s academicals 1-0 in Accra on Feb. 13, 1966, making it the first time any Nigerian team would defeat a Ghanaian football team on Ghanaian soil.
The Nigerian boys repeated the feat six days later to humble their Ghanaian counterparts 2-1 in Lagos in a return leg.
According to the Sports Minister, Mabo’s contribution to the game is unquantifiable, as he stayed long even after retirement to give back to the round leather game.
The Minister further said Pa Ismaila Mabo lived an impactful life and that a special space would be reserved for him when the history of Nigerian football development was written.
“As a school boy, he represented Nigeria and after his active football career, he coached the Super Falcons to their most impressive spell both on the continent and globally.
“We pray that God gives his family the fortitude to bear this loss,” Ibitoye quoted Dare as saying.