Henry Nwosu was once described as one of the best players to ever come out of Africa by no less a personality than former Camerounian striker, Roger Milla. Nwosu, who made history as the youngest Nigerian to win the African Nations Cup, when the Green Eagles won the trophy in 1980, was a class above his peers. He was just 17 years old when the Eagles recorded their first win in Africa’s biggest football competition.
That feat was to herald a career filled with goals, trophies and the good things of life. Winning the Nations Cup in 1980 earned Nwosu a house in Festac Town, Lagos, and a car from a grateful Nigeria.
However, gone are those beautiful days, Nwosu, like so many of his peers, is a forgotten hero, who has been brought to his knees by age and sickness. Yesterday, chairman of the Professional Football Association of Nigeria (PFAN) Task Force, Harrison Jalla, raised the alarm that the national icon needs help to survive an ailment that has eaten deep into his resources.
According to Jalla, “Nwosu is down with an ailment that requires urgent medical attention. His speech is already blurred.
“This is a clarion call to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, government of Imo State and all Nigerians of goodwill to rally round Nwosu to save his life.
“This is one of the reasons why the PFAN must get its proper representations in NFF, with its collective bargaining agreement in place to run its welfare programmes for current and retired footballers as an independent organisation.”
Nwosu, in his days was the main pivot for the all-conquering New Nigerian Bank FC of Benin, which dominated West African football in the 1980s. He also played for ACB of Lagos and Iwuanyanwu Nationale, as well as clubs in Cameroun and Cote d’Ivoire.