Monday, February 5, 2024 2:27 pm
Mallam Adekunle Kayode
Nigeria’s best football commentator of all time, we haven’t seen his replacement. You probably don’t know him, because you were young or even not yet born then, but his name is Ernest Okonkwo.
Ernest Okonkwo was a Nigerian football commentator famous in the late 20th century, and whom many considered as the best Nigeria’s football commentator of all time.
Regarded as one of the best commentators from Africa, he was known for his ability to conjure words and bringing the game of football right in front of you as if you were in the stadium, even when you were not. When he ran a football commentary, you got so lost and deep in it that you will get the same satisfaction as those watching the same game right on the stadium. Ernest Okonkwo was so brilliant with the words!!
Below are some of his commentaries…
“Iron Gate Emmanuel Okala throws the ball to ‘Chairman’ Christian Chukwu. Chukwu taps the ball to the ‘Dean of Defence’ Yisa Sofoluwe; Sofoluwe sends a telegraphic pass to ‘Midfield Maestro’ Mudashiru Lawal. Muda Lawal dribbles two defenders and sends the ball to ‘Mathematical’ Segun Odegbami.”
“Odegbami dilly-dallies, shilly-shallies, and locates ‘Elastic’ Humphrey Edobor. The storm is gathering near the opponent’s goal area and it would soon rain a goal. Edobor turns quickly to the right and returns the ball to Odegbami. Odegbami kicks the ball towards ‘Quick Silver’ Sylvanus Okpala who shoots an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from outside the penalty box. It is a goal, it is a goal, Nigeria has scored.”
“He beats Christian Chukwu, he beats Christian Madu, he beats Christian Nwokocha. He beats three Christians in a row! Who is this man? He must be a Muslim. Oh! It’s Shefiu Mohammed sending a diagonal pass to Baba Otu Mohammed.”
“Okey Isima, with a short pass to Sylvanus Okpala. They both play in Portugal. They can communicate in Igbo, they can communicate in English, they can communicate in Portuguese and they just communicated with the ball.”
“Nigeria has scored Nigeria” (after Godwin Odiye’s own goal against Tunisia in 1977).
He was also credited with giving nicknames to many Nigerian players such as…
Segun Odegbami- Mathematical
Sylvanus Okpala- Quick Silver
Yisa Sofoluwe- Dean of Defense
Adokiye Amiesimaka- Chief Justice
Emmanuel Okala- Tallest
Christian Chukwu- Chairman
Aloysius Atuegbu- Blockbuster
Kelechi Emetole- Caterpillar
Idowu Otubusen- Slow Poison
He passed away on 7 August 1990, aged 54. May he continue to rest on.