FABIAN DURU: First Nigerian captain of Inexperienced Eagles

By Emeka Obasi

12 months of Independence, 1960, introduced with it a harvest of achievements for left-back, Fabian Duru. Whereas Salaudeen Akano of the Navy lowered the Union Jack for Nigeria’s Inexperienced-White-Inexperienced, the footballer modified from pink to inexperienced jersey.

The nationwide soccer staff was generally known as the Crimson Devils till October 1960 when a brand new identify, Inexperienced Eagles, was adopted. Duru captained the staff towards Black Stars of Ghana on September 10, 1960. In October, he led the squad to the West African Video games, the primary time inexperienced jerseys have been worn.

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It was in 1960 that the Electrical energy Company of Nigeria (ECN) lifted the Problem Cup for the primary time. Duru captained the Lagos Electricians to realize that. It grew to become a five-year deal because the staff gained once more in 1965 and made it once more in 1970.

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ECN have been heading in the right direction to seize a fourth Problem Cup in 1975, with one harmful striker, Segun Adeleke, propelling the assault. That ambition coincided with the glory years of Enugu Rangers. Each groups met within the semi-final. Sam ‘404’ Onyeaka made a number of distinction. The Flying Antelopes coasted house to victory.

Duru ended the yr 1960 as Sportsman of the 12 months. It was the primary time a footballer would win the award in Nigeria. He was totally concerned within the Roma ’60 0lympic Video games qualifiers though Nigeria couldn’t make it. One participant who shone however left halfway was Chris Ohiri.

After I met Duru in 1992, he was proud to tell me of his 1960 accomplishments. Final captain of the Crimson Devils, first skipper of the Inexperienced Eagles, captain of Problem Cup champions, ECN and Sportsman of the yr.

Duru by no means forgot the 7-Zero humiliation Nigeria suffered in Ghana in 1955. Keeper Carl ‘ Gentleman’ O’Dwyer was made to look so unusual. NFA Secretary Common, Effiom Okon and his assistant, Oyo Orok Oyo, by no means forgot that recreation till they handed on.

The defender additionally had cause to have a good time in Ghana. Nigeria gained the Nkrumah Gold Cup proper earlier than President Kwame Nkrumah. The Osagyefo handed over the trophy to Duru. Nigeria relied on away targets rule after a 1-1 draw. Proper-winger, Baba Yara, captained the Black Stars.

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All via Duru’s captaincy, Ghana didn’t have it simple with Nigeria. Of their final recreation as Crimson Devils, the hosts have been compelled to a two-all draw. Godwin Nnamoko and Dejo Fayemi scored for Nigeria. Edward Acquah’s brace saved the guests.

The Nigerian staff comprised: Clement Andre in aim, Cletus Onyema, Duru, John Onyeador, Godwin Achebe, Dan Anyiam as defenders. Within the center have been Godwin Nnamoko and Amusa Shittu. Fayemi and Boniface Okoro accomplished the record. Reserve goalie, Ezekwe, warmed the bench with Elknah Onyeali and Emenako.

Ghana had keeper Dodo Ankrah, captain Baba Yara, Ben Simmons, Emma Oblitey, Mamah Ankrah, Addo Odametey, Joe Aikins, Wilberforce Kwadwo Mfum, Acquah, Edward Aggrey Fynn and Mohamodu Salisu.

The referee was Kurt Tschenscher from West Germany. Ghana’s coach, Joseph Ember, additionally dealt with the Nigerian nationwide staff later. Keeper Ankrah as soon as served as Sam Ibiam’s reserve at Accra Hearts of Oak. The Black Stars later gained their first African Nations Cup in 1963.

Duru was nicknamed ‘ Mechanic’ due to his ruggedness. He regaled me with tales of his excellent show towards visiting Dynamos of Moscow in a Lagos pleasant. Once more, the sport was performed in 1960, a outstanding yr.

He mentioned: “In 1960, throughout a pleasant with Dynamos of Moscow, I finished a goal-bound shot with a sliding deal with and the next day there was a newspaper headline, ‘Duru bites the mud’. I additionally obtained a miniature Sputnik with the opposite Nigerian gamers.”

In 1961, he left for additional research in the UK. Duru had educated as a instructor in Kafanchan however went for Engineering at Liverpool College. To make ends meet the participant replied o…


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