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Eagles need ‘sharper attack’ to beat Black Stars – Okala

By Gowon Akpodonor
29 March 2022   |   4:04 am
Former Green Eagles goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, has said that the team needs a ‘sharper attack’ to triumph against the Black Stars of Ghana in today’s make or mar World Cup qualifier in Abuja.

Emmanuel Okala

Former Green Eagles goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, has said that the team needs a ‘sharper attack’ to triumph against the Black Stars of Ghana in today’s make or mar World Cup qualifier in Abuja.

For years, Okala provided cover for the then Green Eagles to cage the Black Stars.

One of such encounters was at Lagos ‘73 All Africa Games, when Okala’s magical hands helped Nigeria to beat a ‘stubborn’ Black Stars of Ghana 4-2 in Group A. Then, the Eagles with soccer legends such as Tony Igwe, Morton Owolo, Victor Oduah, Haruna Ilerika, Yakubu Mabo, Sunny Oyarekhua and Josiah Dombraye were the toast of many African football lovers.

Okala, who was undoubtedly the most famous sports figure on the African continent then with his imposing six feet five inches frame, told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday that the Augustine Eguavoen-led Super Eagles would need extra efforts to secure victory against the visiting Ghanaians today.

“I watched the first leg played in Kumasi on Friday, and I feel the Super Eagles need to be sharper in attack tomorrow (today). I commend the team for their effort in sustaining the several attacks thrown at them by the Black Stars in Kumasi. Now, our boys must be good finishers in Abuja because there is no second chance. We can’t afford not to be at Qatar 2022 World Cup,” Okala stated.

Apart from being one of the heroes of the gold-medal winning team in 1973, Okala was a member of the winning squad of the 1980 African Cup of Nations, and a member of the 1977 Africa Cup-Winners’ Cup Rangers International FC team.

Okala remains, to date, the first and only goalkeeper in the history of African football to be crowned Africa’s Player of the Year by the African Sports Journalists Union, ASJU, in 1975.

The Super Eagles forced the Black Stars to a 0-0 draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday, and today’s second leg tie will hold at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.