One of Nigeria’s greatest ever goalkeepers has shared insights into how he was able to achieve so much during his football career
Ex-Nigeria international Peter Rufai has identified hard work, commitment, and focus as the ingredients that helped him reach the pinnacle of his goalkeeping career.
Rufai enjoyed a 20-year career, during which time he featured for Belgian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish clubs.
The highlights of his playing time were, however, with the Super Eagles winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, Nigeria’s second continental triumph.
Rufai was also Nigeria’s undisputed number one gloves at the country’s first-ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup in USA ’94. And despite being in his late thirties, ‘Dodo Mayana’ was still the preferred choice at the 1998 Mundial in France.
And by the time he hung his gloves in 2000, Rufai was arguably the most successful Nigerian goalkeeper in history.
Now 58 years old, Rufai can look back at the fears, doubts, hopes, and dreams he had back in his youth and be convinced that his attitude and work ethic saw him through his career’s highs and lows.
“I believe in giving more than 100% on the field,” the former Deportivo la Coruna star wrote on Instagram.
“I had fears, I wasn’t sure of myself at times, but I never lost focus, I gave my all and that’s victory for me.”
Rufai was capped 65 times by Nigeria, scoring a lone goal – the last goal from a penalty kick in the 6-0 thrashing of Ethiopia in an Afcon qualifier in 1993.