Abuja – The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) on Tuesday expressed its deep grief and that of the entire Nigerian football family at the death of former Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Wilfred Agbonavbare.
The NFA, in a statement by its Assistant Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, said news of Agbonavbare’s death in the early hours of Tuesday in Spain had been broken to it.
The former senior national team goalkeeper’s affliction with cancer was reported a couple of weeks ago.
“This is very sad, coming only two days after the death of coach Musa Abdullahi.
“The NFA became aware of Agbonavbare’s affliction only a couple of weeks ago.
“But it is evident that this is another true hero gone to rest too early,’’ NFA’s acting Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, said in the statement.
He said Agbonavbare was a patriot of the first grade and his contributions to Nigerian football on-field could never be forgotten.
Agbonavbare played for Rubber Board FC and New Nigeria Bank (NNB) FC, both of Benin City and now defunct, in his early years.
He was a member of the Super Eagles’ squad which won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Tunisia in 1994.
Agbonavbare also made the final squad to Nigeria’s debut appearance at the 1994 World Cup finals in the U.S. as one of the three goalkeepers, alongside Peter Rufai and Alloy Agu.
He was in the first Nigerian team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup finals – the national under-20 male squad of 1983.
At the finals in Mexico, the team defeated the then USSR, lost 0-3 to Brazil and drew 0-0 with The Netherlands, before crashing out at the group stage.
Agbonavbare also represented the senior team at the 1984, 1988 and 1990 AFCON finals, winning silver in all three, before winning gold in Tunisia in 1994.
He also played for Spanish club, Rayo Vallecano, before finally settling down in the European country.(NAN)