Celebrating Babuje – one of the greatest goalkeepers in African Football history!

It gives me great pleasure to celebrate my friend and compatriot.

Last Sunday, May 17, he turned 69….

……the ‘problem’ with Babuje, for that’s what I call Emmanuel Okala, is that he takes everything in life very seriously……

……..it was that same spirit that drove Enugu Rangers International FC following its formation after the Civil War.

………… to play against Rangers in those days was like going to war. The team played as if the world would end if they lost.

…….. His ‘gentle’ goal kicks travelled from one goal area to the other…..so, playing against Rangers was playing against the ceaseless attacks launched from Okala’s left foot……

…..he was so good that in 1975, he became the first goalkeeper in the history of African football to be awarded African Footballer of the year………

……his contest with Thompson Usiyen at training was legendary………. a contest of Okala’s will and determination against Usiyen’s wits and skills.

You must read the full version of this article dedicated to my friend Emmanuel Okala on his birthday. These are things you never read anywhere else before now!

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