The one-time defensive kingpin has been described by former Portsmouth striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni as one of the toughest centre-backs to have ever worn the green-and-white jersey.
Aiyebeni confessed that former Inter Milan strongman Taribo West was the Nigerian defender he feared going against even if it was only during a training session.
Taribo, known for his tough-tackling, no-nonsense style, rose to prominence after helping Auxerre to two Coupe de France titles in three years. He then led the French side to win their first league title in history at the end of the 1995-96 season.
That summer, West was equally impeccable in defence as Nigeria romped to a gold medal finish – the country’s first-ever – at the Atlanta Olympic Games.
The former AC Milan defender afterwards became a mainstay of the Super Eagles defence for a decade, making 42 appearances and taking part in two World Cups and two African Championships.
West never lifted the AFCON title with Nigeria – a second-placed finish in 2000 the closest he came – but Nigeria’s most prolific striker in Premier League history says there’s no tougher defender than the man known for his colour hairstyles.
“Taribo was a no-nonsense defender. I was not comfortable playing against him in training or match situation,” Aiyegbeni said in a radio phone-in programme as per The Eagle Online.
“He will kick you and still won’t say sorry. Taribo’s style of play gave a lot of us confidence. He gave his all for the country.”
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