Former Green Eagles goalkeeper Emmanuel Ocala celebrates 70th birthday

Emmanuel Oguahiofor Ocala, the former goalkeeper of the Green Eagles, turned 70 on Monday 17 May.

He won the Footballer of the Year award in 1978 after winning the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations tournament representing Nigeria.

Ocala was one of the heroes of the team that won the gold medal at the Second African Games in 1973, a member of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winning team and a member of the 1977 African Cup Rangers international team.

In his prime, Babuje, as he was affectionately called, was perhaps the most famous and recognizable sports character on the African continent with his impressive six-foot-five physique.

His intimidating character between the goalposts and his completely harmless human image on the outside were highly revered.

To this day, Ocala remains the first and only goalkeeper in African football history to be voted Africa’s Player of the Year by the African Sports Journalists Union (ASJU) in 1975.

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