The country’s football family has been thrown into mourning after news trickled in of the passing away of one of the nation’s ex-internationals
Former Nigeria national team goalkeeper Joseph Erico has died at the age of 72. Erico, who also served as Super Eagles’ assistant manager and goalkeeper trainer for several years, passed away after a brief illness.
2020 was a sad year for Nigerian football with the demise of former Super Eagles defender Ajibade Babalade, ex-Nigerian youth international Felagha, and Nasarawa United Chineme Martins, who died during a Nigeria Professional Football League game.
The Nigeria Football Federation also suffered significant losses as the football body mourned the passing away of Musa Duhu, an NFF Exco Committee Member and Mr Emmanuel Ibah, NFF coordinator for the South-South zone.
And just days into 2021, hours after the NFF confirmed the death of former Minister of Sports and Chairman of National Sports Commission Bala Bawa Ka’oje at 60, Erico has departed this realm.
His death was confirmed to Goal by one of the former shot-stopper’s family members.
Nicknamed ‘Jogobonito exponent’, Erico made his name featuring between the posts for then Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, a team he led to the final of the 1970 Challenge Cup.
Joe Erico was also a member of the ‘Father’ Tiko Jelisavcic-led Green Eagles squad that secured a third-place finish at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations tournament hosted by Ethiopia and won by Morocco.
After a successful playing career, Erico took to coaching, taking charge of Julius Berger FC in the 90s where he introduced an exciting style of play tagged the ‘Jogo Bonito’.
Erico alongside late coach Shuaibu Amodu and late Stephen Keshi qualified the Super Eagles for the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, but they were dismissed before the Mundial.
May his soul rest in peace.