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NFF mourns the passing of Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen, Africa’s first FIFA World Cup winner

Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen

The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed deep shock at news on Wednesday morning of the death of the first man to lead an African team to win a FIFA World Cup, Coach Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen, at a hospital in Benin City, Edo State.

The 85-year tactician, according to his family, was undergoing treatment for stroke and diabetes but gave up the ghost at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in the early hours of Wednesday, 3rd January 2024.

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“The NFF and the entire Nigeria Football fraternity are sorely pained by the demise of Coach Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen. He worked very hard at his craft and was tireless in his efforts to bring honour to the homeland through the various National Teams he worked with. No one can ever forget how he led an unsung group of boys to China to win a first-ever FIFA World Cup for Nigeria and Africa,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said on Wednesday.

Brodricks-Imasuen was Head Coach of the Nigeria U16 squad that won the inaugural FIFA Cadet World Cup in China in 1985, defeating West Germany 2-0 in the final at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing. Two years later in Canada, he led the team to runner-up position after a penalty shootout defeat to the former Soviet Union, and two years later, in Scotland, his team lost to eventual winners Saudi Arabia on penalties in the quarter-finals. Two years later, FIFA upgraded the competition to an U17 tournament.

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The soft-spoken, easy-going tactician also assisted Dutchman Clemens Westerhof as Nigeria finished as runners-up at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Algeria.

Nicknamed Sabara, Brodricks-Imasuen featured for Bendel Insurance in his playing days, famously scoring the winning goal when Insurance edged feisty Mighty Jets in a replayed 1972 Challenge Cup Final in Ibadan, after both teams were deadlocked at 2-2 in the first match at the Onikan Stadium in Lagos, thanks to the heroics of late Sam Garba Okoye.

Apart from his successes at international level, Sabara also coached El-Kanemi Warriors, Udoji United FC and Bendel Insurance.

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