Minister of Youth and sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare has heaped praises on former Green Eagles goalkeeper Emmanuel Okalla as he turns 70, describing him as one of the greatest goalkeepers Nigeria, and indeed Africa has ever produced.
A statement signed by the Minister said “On behalf of the Nigerian football family, let me sincerely congratulate Emmanuel Okalla as he turns 70. On this your special day, I wish you God’s guidance, protection, mercy favour and good health, Happy birthday.”
Dare further said” You are truly an icon whose place in Nigerian and African football is already assured. Your role in winning the 1980 Nations Cup and other accomplishments cannot be forgotten. We will continue to celebrate you and pray to God to endow you with good health and long life. God bless you and thanks for all the great memories”, the statement concluded.
Okalla is the only Nigerian goalkeeper to be decorated as ‘African Footballer of the Year’ by the African Sports Journalists Union, ASJU.
Okalla manned the post for the Green Eagles for 10 years.
His towering figure at 6ft, 5 inches earned him the nickname ‘Tallest’ and ‘Man Mountain’ by the late legendary radio ace commentator Earnest Okonkwo.