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Elegbeleye salutes legendary keeper, Emmanuel Okala at 73

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The Board of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is celebrating Emmanuel Okala, one of the greatest goalkeepers to have graced the league in the colours of Rangers of Enugu.

Okala turned 73 on Friday, 17 May and NPFL Chairman, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye said the former national team goalkeeper deserves to be celebrated by the nation’s football family.

“Anybody who is familiar with the post civil war rise of football in Nigeria will definitely remember the name, Emmanuel Okala because he was one of the icons of our football renaissance in the 1970′ to the 1980’s”, Elegbeleye noted in a congratulatory message to the former national team goalkeeper.

The NPFL Chairman recalled that Okala and his set in Rangers, which included former Green Eagles captain, Christian Chukwu, made the national league topical in their era with the rivalries against IICC Shooting Stars, Stationery Stores, Bendel Insurance, Mighty Jets and Raccah Rovers, among others.

“On behalf of the NPFL Board, the Clubs, Players and every stakeholder including the fans, I wish our legendary goalkeeper a very happy birthday and more years in good health”, the NFF second Vice President said in his tribute.

Okala was voted African Footballer of the Year 1978, by the African Sports Journalists Union, and was recruited to Rangers by then Coach Dan Anyiam in 1970 after he stopped the penalty of Godwin Achebe against his Onitsha club, Red Devils.

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