The Sun World Cup seminar: Onigbinde, Ekeji, Odegbami lined up as speakers, discussants
The first black African to handle a team at the World Cup and ex-Super Eagles coach, Chief Adegboye Oniginde as well as one of the best sports technocrats to come out of Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, are among sports icons lined up to speak at The Sun World Cup seminar holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
The seminar, with theme: “That Super Eagles may excel in Russia 2018 and Beyond,” will be hosted by the Rivers State Government at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.
The Federal Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have endorsed it.
Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung and President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick, will also speak at the event organised by The Sun to mobilise support for the national team as it goes for honours in Russia next month.
Others selected to speak at the seminar include Mallam Danladi Bako, former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the originator of ‘Morning Ride’ as well as “Master Sports” on NTA2; former chief coach of the Golden Eaglets, Mr. Fanny Amun and ex-Super Eagles captain, Segun Odegbami.
Others who will serve as discussants at the epoch-making seminar are supersonic football manager, Chief Emeka Inyama and irrepressible sports marketer and Chief Executive of Hotspots, Mr. Taye Ige.
According to organisers of the seminar, Chief Onigbinde would speak on the topic, “Super Eagles: Towards a successful Russia 2018 campaign,” while Bako will talk about “Galvanising support for the Super Eagles: The role of government, media and other stakeholders.” Ekeji, Coach Amun, Odegbami, Inyama and Ige will discuss the topics and unveil different perspectives therein.
Onigbinde is a man of history and easily the doyen of Nigerian coaches. He entered the record book of the 88-year-old World Cup competition as the first black coach at the World Cup, having led Nigeria to face Argentina on June 2, 2002 in Ibaraki at Italia 1990. Although before him there had been Abdelmajid Chetali of Tunisia in 1978 and Egypt’s El Gohary in 1990, Onigbinde still maintains a place in the global football history as the first black African to feature as coach at the World Cup.
Onigbinde shot into national prominence in February 1983, when he was appointed as replacement to ex-Nigerian national coach, Otto Gloria, a Brazilian professor. He later became a technical adviser to Trinidad and Tobago, CAF and FIFA instructor on coaching.
Ekeji has been involved in all facets of sports, especially football in the country. He was a footballer for clubs and national team, having played for both the Vasco da Gama FC and Enugu Rangers as well as the national team, the Green Eagles, with which he made a winning debut on July 13, 1975 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo in Brazzaville. He was also a coach for both clubs and the national team.
Ten years after his Green Eagles debut in Brazzaville, he mounted the saddle as the national team coach in 1985. Before handling the Green Eagles, he had coached ACB of Lagos, where Henry Nwosu was one of his star players.
A graduate of Physical and Health Education from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ekeji later became a lecturer at the Nigeria Institute of Sports, teaching football as a discipline and helping to breed another generation of coaches.