From UK Tourists to football immortality: Nigeria’s longest-living international player passes away

Nigeria Mourns the Loss of Titus Okere, Its Oldest Former International Footballer

The Nigerian football community is in mourning following the death of Titus Okere, the country’s oldest former international footballer. Okere passed away at the age of 94 in Kent, UK, where he had been living for many years.

Born on March 22, 1929, in Ngor Okpala local Government in Owerri, Imo State, Okere began his football career with local teams like Zik’s Athletic Club in Port Harcourt and Lagos Railways. He captained the latter to multiple victories and trophies in 1948 before catching the attention of national team selectors.

In 1949, Okere was selected as a member of Nigeria’s inaugural national team, known as the UK Tourists. He played a pivotal role in the team’s matches against English amateur clubs and their international encounter with Sierra Leone, where he contributed a goal in a triumphant 2-0 victory.

Following the 1949 tour, Okere’s talent garnered praise from the British press. Edgar Kail of the UK’s Daily Graphic lauded Okere’s speed and brilliance on the field, even suggesting his experience made him a viable candidate for most European league sides.

In 1953, Okere made history as the first Nigerian citizen to play professional football abroad, signing for Swindon Town. He never returned to Nigeria after departing in February 1953, settling in Kent where he led a quiet life.

See also  Empoli Blocks Folorunsho's Move to Team Up with Osimhen at Napoli in Serie A

Okere’s legacy as a pioneering Nigerian footballer and his significant contributions to the sport will forever be remembered in the history of Nigerian football. His exceptional performances on the field and his trailblazing journey as a professional footballer abroad will always be an inspiration to future generations of Nigerian footballers.

The Nigerian football community extends its deepest condolences to Okere’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *