Saturday, September 29, 2012


Sunday Oliseh and Taribo West Pix: By Arukaino Umukoro

On Friday, September 28, at the Soccerex Seminar Lagos, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos, I met former Super Eagles defender and rock of Gibraltar, Taribo West, now turned pastor. I shook hands with him and joked "Pastor, I would like a prayer of blessings, sir,” He laughed “You’re blessed,” he said with a hand gesture as if he were the Pope. Of course

In case you don’t remember, West, also then famous for his crazy hairdos - including one half of a dreadlock painted in Nigeria’s colours green white green, was part of the golden generation of Super Eagles that won the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations that rose up to become the best entertaining side at the USA 1994 World Cup. At that time the Eagles were adjudged by FIFA as the fifth best side in the world. West was also part of the all-conquering Dream Team that swept aside South American giants, Brazil and Argentina to win the Atlanta 1996 Olympic football gold, the first time for an African country.

Okay. Let’s cut the chase.

A few minutes later, Sunday Oliseh walked out of the Soccerex meeting hall where he was drilled with questions by Osasu Obayuiwana, one of Africa’s leading football journalists, and Associate Editor of NewAfrican magazine. And in case you didn’t know, Oliseh, like West, was also part of the golden generation of the 1994 Nations’ Cup and 1996 Olympic gold winning team. Oliseh aslo scored that beauty of a rocket in the 78 minutes to clinch a memorable 3-2 victory against Spain, now European and World Champions, at the France 1998 World Cup.

Oliseh and West in conversation. Pix: By Arukaino Umukoro
Just as Oliseh came out, he met West at the door. On sighting West who had his back to Oliseh and was caught up in conversation with notable names that had gathered around him. Oliseh gave him a playful nudge from behind. And when West turned round to see who it was, it became two golden summers again, 1994 and 1996. Time seemed to pause as people around watched in delight as they gave each other repeated bear hugs that lingered in the memory and banter like best friends. They chatted for a while. Like during their Eagles’ heydays, it was beautiful to watch them play like long lost friends.

Oliseh, the classy and hugely-talented midfielder. Taribo West, the defender extraordinaire. Both were integral part of a Super Eagles generation that was bleeding with class everywhere. Indeed, they were a golden generation. It was great meeting them both. They were golden moments with a touch of impressive history.

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