The Nigerian football world was shocked on Thursday, January 21, 2021, after the news of the demise of former Nigerian goalkeeper, Joe Erico, was made public. Nicknamed “Jogo Bonito”, information from his family revealed that he complained of stomach ache before giving up the ghost at the age of 72 in Lagos State. Tomiwa Aghedo, a close family member of the former shot-stopper confirmed his death on Thursday:
Read more about Sports
‘I feel sad informing you that coach Joe Erico passed on this morning. He complained of stomach ache yesterday and he was subsequently rushed to the hospital. Very early this morning he passed away. It’s terrible news at this point in time and every one of us is devastated. We are consoled by the fact that he served Nigeria with all his strength and he lived a good life worthy of emulation.’
While Nigerians continue to mourn a patriotic citizen, we present you some facts you need to know about Jogo Bonito.
Joseph Bassey Eric was born in 1949 and hails from Odukpani local government area in Cross River State.
Just like many footballers in his days, Erico started his career on the domestic front with clubs like Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Railways, NEPA, Electricity Connectors of Nigeria, and Julius Berger. He won many titles with Julius Berger and was popular among fans.
Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
His exploits caught the attention of the national team selectors as he was called up to the national team in 1968. However, he made his debut for the then Green Eagles in an AFCON qualifiers game against Zambia in 1973. Nigeria won the game by 3 goals to 2.
During the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations in Ethiopia, Erico alongside Prince Zion Ogunfeyimi was selected by coach Tiko Jelisavcic to man the Eagles’ post. Erico did not fail as he was instrumental in Nigeria’s third-place finish in the tournament.
Coaching Career – Jogo Bonito
After retiring from professional football, Erico went into administration and took up Julius Berger, his boyhood club. At Julius Berger, he introduced the ‘’Jogo Bonito,’’ a unique style of flair popular with Brazilian football. Erico who had several stints with Nigerian national teams in the past was part of the technical crew that qualified the country for the Sydney 2000 Olympics before getting fired by the Nigeria Football Federation on the eve of the tournament.
He was recalled two years later to serve as one of the assistant coaches to late Shuaibu Amodu. Together with Late coaches, Amodu and Stephen Keshi, they qualified the Super Eagles for the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup but were fired after winning bronze at the Mali 2002 AFCON.
Coach Erico is survived by his wife and four children. Notable of all his children is Michael Eric, who is part of the current D’Tigers set up and was very instrumental at the 2019 Basketball world cup in China. He currently plies his trade for Turkish basketball outfit, Turk Telekom after leaving Baskonia in 2020.
Featured Image Source: Businessday NG
Got a suggestion? Contact us: email@example.com