The remains of former Nigeria international defender Francis Obi Okoye, who died in December 2016, will be interred at his family compound in Mbarakpaka, Ihiala, Anambra State on Thursday.
An energetic and efficient defender in his days with the Red Devils (as the Nigeria senior team was known in those days), Obi Okoye featured in a number of matches for Nigeria between 1959 and 1961. He was in the Nigeria team that defeated Ghana 3-1 in a 1960 Olympics qualifying match in Lagos in October 1959, though the team lost 1-4 in the return in Accra.
His team –mates included Elkana Onyeali, Isaac Nnado, Dejo Fayemi, Emmanuel Omiunu, Dan Anyiam, Godwin Achebe, Albert Onyeawuna, Olu Onagoruwa, Fabian Duru, Asuquo Ekpe, Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun and Amusa Shittu.
A versatile sportsman, Okoye also excelled in athletics and tennis. A certified teacher, he starred for the renowned Aba XI (known then as Aba Giant Killers), from where he was picked for the Eastern Nigeria Selected XI, and then on to the Red Devils.
In later years, he attended several coaching courses within Nigeria and abroad, earning top badges in Wales and England. He also served as a match commissioner in Nigeria in the 1990s and was an executive of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association.