ERNEST OKONKWO: This generation know the likes of Martin Tyler, Peter Drury, Jim Beglin and Jon Champion. For us Nigerians, we will remember Ernest Okonkwo. I have reproduced some of Okonkwo’s famous lines below:
“He beats Christian Chukwu; he beats Christian Madu; he beats Christian Nwokocha…he beats three Christians in a row! Who is this man ERNEST OKONKWO? He must be a Muslim. Oh! It is Shefiu Mohammed sending a diagonal pass to Baba Otu Mohammed.”
“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 opponents 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 will soon rain a goal. Edobor turns quickly to the right and returns the ball to Odegbami. Odegbami kicks the ball towards Quicksilver Sylvanus Okpala who shoots an intercontinental ballistic missle from outside the penalty box. It is a goal! It is a goal!! Nigeria has scored!”
“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.”
“The lanky ebony black goal hungry Ranger ranging alone in the goal area of the Water Corporation Football Club of Ibadan. Can the one man riot squad make it four for Rangers? A hat trick, that is one, two, three goals are already in the kitty.
Ifeanyi Chukwu means nothing is insurmountable to God. Four goals are also not beyond the ability of Ifeanyi Chukwu Onyedika. It is a goaaaaal! ………goal number four for the indomitable Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, all scored by Ifeanyi Chukwu Onyedika”
“…and the ball is ballooned skywards out of the Eagles defence by Chairman Christian Chukwu, but Muda Lawal runs towards the ball and controls it superbly with the deft touch of his right boot as if it was glued to it.
The midfield maestro strolls majestically with the ball. He then sprays the ball towards Chief Justice Adokie on the left of midfield, who darts to the left and cleverly cuts the ball back in one fast swift motion, losing his marker in the process……he crosses the ball and it reaches Mathematical Segun Odegbami.
He exchanges a one two with Muda. Odegbami collects the ball back, sells a dummy and beats another player with a leg over……the crowd roar in delight….. he’s running to the right flank… He calculates one and two, maybe he will find Muda Lawal again at the perimeter circle, but he decides to kick a 50 meter cross close to the 18 yard box of the opponent.
Blockbuster Aloysius Atuegbu intercepts the ball. He bamboozles his way past two players using his physical strength. He dribbles one, dribbles two and releases a cannon shot! It’s a goaaaallll!!! Oh no! The Egyptian goalkeeper, Ikrami Ahmed, tips the ball over the bar, just when the ball was flying into the top corner of the goal post! What an intercontinental ballistic missile…what a brilliant world class save by Ahmed. And what a great flowing move by the Green Eagles. Even Father Tiko is standing in admiration”.
Godwin Odiye, under pressure from the advancing Tunisian attacker is there to deal with it. Without looking back, he expertly heads the ball backwards toward Okala…..(his voice is now loud). ………Okala is rushing out to retrieve the loose ball. (his voice becomes louder) ……….Oh noooo…..it’s an own goal. Nigeria has scored Nigeriaaaaaa. It was a misjudged header by Odiye, as Okala goes the wrong way and the ball the other way. The ball rolls effortlessly into an empty net.
……(he tones down his voice into a sombre one).
A sad spectacle to watch……What a calamity! (His voice is now slow)…………. The Tunisians are joyous and celebrating victory. And the Nigerian camp is understandably subdued. Odiye bends down in shock as he watches the long towering figure of Emmanuel Okala walk slowly towards goal to retrieve the ball from the net.
The stadium is agonisingly silent. You can hear a pin drop. The Green Eagles are rooted to the spot. They can’t believe their eyes. Even Father Tiko is motionless. It was as if someone had just died………to everyone listening, it is with sorrow in my heart that I return you to the studios. Bye-bye Nigeria!”.
Rest in peace – the Golden Voice – Ernest Okonkwo