Legendary Green Eagles goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala over the week celebrated his 69th birthday.
The former Enugu Rangers goalkeeper marked the occasion by calling on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), state FA’s and administrators to step up their welfare of ex-internationals and players.
Marking his 69th birthday on May 17th with a group of ex-Nigerian players, the former Rangers player and coach thanked his colleagues while calling on the apex football authority in Nigeria to map out strategies to celebrate Nigerian football heroes.
“I have said it that it is better to honour us while alive than to begin to pour encomiums on Nigerian heroes when they are dead. This is regrettable.”
Okala, who had been a goalkeeper coach for various national teams, noted that the welfare of ex-players and coaches must be sacrosanct.
This, according to him, is necessary, if the football sector, its administrators and lovers are to be taken serious.
“In other countries, heroes and legends are celebrated for life; just like the case of the late boxing icon, Mohammad Ali,” he added.
Okala is the first goalkeeper in the history of African football to be awarded the best Player in Africa Award in 1975.