The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has described former Green Eagles goalkeeper Emmanuel Okala as one of the greatest goalkeepers Africa ever produced.
The minister said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja while congratulating the football legend as he clocked 70.
Dare heaped praises on him and thanked him for his services to his fatherland.
“On behalf of the Nigerian football family, let me sincerely congratulate Emmanuel Okala as he turns 70.
“On this your special day, I wish you God’s guidance, protection, mercy favour and good health, happy birthday,” Dare said.
He described him as an icon whose place in the history of Nigerian and African football would not be forgotten.
” You are truly an icon whose place in Nigerian and African football is already assured.
“Your role in winning the 1980 Nations Cup and other accomplishments cant be forgotten.
“We will continue to celebrate you and pray to God to endow you with good health and long life. God bless you and thanks for all the great memories,” he added.
Okala is the only Nigerian goalkeeper to be decorated as ‘African Footballer of the Year’ by the African Sports Journalists Union (ASJU).
Okala manned the post for the Green Eagles for about 10 years while also plying his trade with Enugu Rangers Intl FC.
He was born on May 17, 1951 and played for the Green Eagles from 1972 to 1980, culminating in winning the 1980 African Cup of Nations for Nigeria.