Home Sports Football NFF, IMC mourn over ex-Super Falcon’s coach, Ismaila Mabo

NFF, IMC mourn over ex-Super Falcon’s coach, Ismaila Mabo

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has expressed deep sorrow over the death on Monday morning of former Nigeria defender and an accomplished Head Coach of the Senior Women’s national team, Pa Ismaila Mabo. He was 80.

Also the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye has also commiserated with the NFF, on behalf of the 20 NPFL clubs.

Reports said Mabo died in the early hours of Monday after a protracted illness.

NFF president, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau said: “The death of Pa Ismaila Mabo came to me as a huge shock. Again, we have lost a great man and an accomplished trainer-of-trainers in the Nigeria Football fraternity, and my heart goes out to his immediate family and the other loved ones he has left behind.

“Mabo laid down a big marker for other coaches when he steered the Super Falcons to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the USA in 1999. Yet, he was simple, humble and humane. We will miss him, but we are consoled that he left giant footprints in the sands of time and pray that God will grant him eternal rest”.

For Elegbeleye, the said news of the pioneer coach of the women national team, the Super Falcons was received with shock but with submission to the will of God.

“We received the news of his death this morning and considers it as a great loss not only to his immediate family, sports in Plateau State, but Nigeria as a whole in view of his pathfinding contributions to the establishment and overall development of women football in the country and Africa at large.

“While the NPFL Family mourns the the passing on of the veteran coach Samaila Mabo, we are consoled by the knowledge that he made his marks and left positive and enduring footprints in the annals of Women football in country, if not the world”, Elegbeleye said in a statement”, he said.

Elegbeleye prayed that the family will find the fortitude to go through the loss while urging them to accept Mabo’s death in good faith.

Mabo was the pioneer head coach of the Super Falcons and guided the team to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games, a record yet to be equalled by his successors.

A gifted central defender, Mabo started as a schoolboy international with the Nigeria academicals team that broke the chain of Ghana’s constant whipping of Nigerian teams, when they defeated Ghana’s academicals 1-0 in Accra on 13 February 1966. It was the first time any Nigerian team would defeat a Ghanaian football team on Ghanaian soil.

Six days later, the Nigerian boys again defeated their Ghanaian counterparts 2-1 in Lagos. His team-mates included Peter ‘Baby’ Anieke, Tony ‘World 2’ Igwe, the illustrious Sam Garba Okoye and Eyo Essien.

After that accomplishment, Mabo joined Mighty Jets of Jos and was part of that club’s famous squad of the late 1960s and 1970s. He also featured for the senior national team, making his debut in a 1972 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Congo in Brazzaville on 22 November 1970.

Mabo would later go into coaching, and was in the dug-out as Head Coach when the Super Falcons defeated North Korea 3-2, lost to USA and defeated Denmark 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999. The team stretched Brazil at that quarter-final stage before losing by a golden goal in extra time in Washington DC on 1 July 1999.

His remains have since been laid to rest in Jos, Plateau State.

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