Chibuzor, Nigerian striker of the 80s and Maidan favorite, has died

A pal of sadness descended on the city as news of Chibuzor Nwakanma’s death reached football aficionados. The small Nigerian striker has become a household name for his impressive goal poaching abilities as he turned out for Kolkata’s big three clubs – East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting during a career spanning more than a decade. ‘a decade.

The Nigerian striker came to India in the early 80s as a student but soon caught the attention of football scouts for his excellent abilities.

Chibuzor traveled to Kolkata on the advice of his friend Chima Okorie, who was then an established star with Mohammedan Sporting. Chibuzor joined East Bengal in 1986 and quickly became a hit for his blistering speed and excellent control that would make the opposing defense cringe.

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Mohammedan Sporting striker Chibuzor tries to get a header during a game against East Bengal. – HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Chibuzor then moved to Mohammedan Sporting, where he formed a great partnership with Emeka Ezeugo, the man who went on to play in the FIFA World Cup for Nigeria. For the past few years, Chibuzor has turned out for Mohun Bagan, where he spent a few seasons with Chima. He hung up his boots in 1998 after a brief stint with the Churchill Brothers in Goa.

Chubuzor is remembered by his contemporaries as a jovial person who would be a constant source of entertainment in the locker room. He became a priest after returning to his native country and used football as a means of reforming young people who had fallen into crime.

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