Pillar of Sports, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, believes the appointment of Ogbonna Onovo as Inspector General of Police will raise more world champions for the country.
Kalu, who described Onovo as â€œa wonderful sportsman and damn good footballerâ€, has therefore urged Nigerians to watch out for more Chioma Ajunwas, Sunday Badas and Samuel Peter.
â€œNot many know that Onovo played league football for Enugu Vasco Da Gama the same club that produced Patrick Ekeji, David Adiele and Alphonsus Dike. His elevation now means that new Ajunwas, Badas, and Peters will emerge in the policeâ€, Kalu said.
The trio of Ajunwa, Bada and Peter, all cops, were world champions. Ajunwa won Nigeriaâ€™s first Olympic gold medal at Atlanta â€™96, Bada was World indoors 400m champion at Paris â€œ97, while Peter became Africaâ€™s first World heavyweight boxing champion.
â€œThere is so much to thank the police forâ€, Kalu explained,â€ and I trust Onovo to do even more. The first national team keeper, Benjamin â€œCeremonialâ€ Williams, was a policeman. He manned the posts when Nigeria, captained by S.A.
Fashola (the Lagos State Governor’s Uncle) beat the then Gold Coast 3-1 at Onikan in 1938. When the Eagles won All Africa Games gold in 1973, a police officer Sunny Oyarekhua scored five goals. Ten years earlier, another officer Emmanuel Omiunu, was not only in goal, he captained the National Team.
The ex-Abia governor relived the good old days of the police and expressed hope that Onovoâ€™s tenure would boost sports.
â€œDuring the Colonial times, one great athlete Joseph Adeola was nicknamed â€œthe Flying Policeman.â€ In 1961, the Football Association was headed by the Inspector General Louis Edet. In 1962, the police Machine team won the challenge cup, with players like Willy Bazuaye, â€œ Man Mountain â€ S.K Momodu and Omiunu,â€ Kalu recalled.