…Before Jay Jay, Thompson, Godwin Ogbueze was Nigeria’s most gifted artist of all time
– (See Rangers International Football Club… History a People)
I was on a sabbatical when Okonjo-Iweala climbed into the final two. FINITO! I rejoiced, WTO is not Nigeria where the coxcombs rule the waves. My sister is the best in the world.
Still on leave, then the Magic landed at the Asaba Airport! I can no longer stay away, Emma Okocha On the Niger is, therefore back, for Magic Godwin Ogbueze is in town!
In 1971, Nigeria’s most circulating newspaper The Daily Times, announced him the Magic! At the Adebajo Cup semi-finals, Godwin Ogbueze leading the east Central State Academicals against their Lagos State counterparts, performed an epic never seen anywhere in a football pitch.
Godwin’s early rise from Jos, northern Nigeria, to national prominence was cut down by the civil war. Born with the Bianca hazy lovely eyes, blessed with Mohammed Ali’s sexual overthrowing gait, Godwin Ogbueze was born to play football. Godwin was born to a whoa, bewitch the beautiful women and serenade teenagers as they jostled to watch the warming up approach of the “School Boy Magic” who had drawn a gleaming, white ribbon cover round his forehead.
For those of you, the new generation mesmerized by the ethane artistry of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, those of you of the old school, who saw Albert Onyeanwuna take on three or four defenders at a time, witnessed the football poetry of the London Boy, the dancing effervescence of Jay-Jay, the last matador, please wait for the Daily Times story of soccer’s most pulsating decade. These other great players were indeed unbelievable, and were all icons of the game.
All the same, the Daily Times, which started covering football since June 6, 1925, had reported and seen a lot of the world’s greatest footballers. On the day Godwin Ogbueze performed his epic at Onikan, the Times went for the absolute and referred to the “fantasy” that happened as magic. The paper called him by that the lad conjured magic in the open area.
After earning a hat trick, Ogbueze decided on that day to knock at the World Guinness Book of Records. He took the entire football team of the Lagos Academicals, starring: Emilio John, Tunde Martins, Tony Amayo, one by one, he dribbled down the field, approaching the goalkeeper, Manuwa, Ogbueze raised his head and smiled at the goalkeeper. The onrushing goalkeeper was neatly displaced and instead of tapping in the ball into an empty net, the Magician retreated, carrying the ball on his back he started the Atilogwu dance!
This totally embarrassed the Lagos squad who moved back to the sidelines and Ogbueze, still not tired of entertaining the now rumpus crowd, shoved the ball from his back to his shoulders, gently caressing the leather ball, interchangeably thrusting up the ball to his head and to his neck in marked embraces.
In perfect control of his one-man theatre act, Godwin Ogbueze swaggered n to the centre line. The referee, who in that instance had lost his authority, went after the Magician and was about snatching the ball from Ogbueze when the Magician sold him his own dummy! His whistle fell from his hands and for the first time there was pin drop silence. Without the opponents contesting the ball, the referee had lost his command, Godwin Ogbueze sat on the ball and with Lagos crowd to come for the ball!! That crowd would forever relate the story the story of that epic not only to those who missed the match but would go forever to tell the story of Ogbueze and his magic at Onikan from generation to generation.
After the civil war, Godwin Ogbueze was the unsung revelation whose artistry on that day shut down a volatile crowd, dismissed the authority of the referee, dribbled down an entire team and sat down on the ball to end a game. No other player has or will ever conjure the field like the magic of Godwin Ogbueze.