The Nigerian football fraternity has been thrown into mourning after the death of veteran coach Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen.
The 85-year-old, celebrated as the first African to lead a team to a FIFA World Cup victory, passed away at a hospital in Benin City, Edo State, after undergoing treatment for stroke and diabetes.
“NFF and the entire Nigeria Football fraternity are sorely pained by the demise of Coach Sebastian Brodricks-Imasuen. He worked very hard at his craft and was tireless in his efforts to bring honor to the homeland through the various National Teams he worked with,” the Nigeria Football Federation wrote in a statement.
First coach to lead Nigeria to a world title
Brodricks-Imasuen's legacy includes leading the Nigeria U16 squad to victory at the inaugural FIFA Cadet World Cup in China in 1985, notably defeating West Germany 2-0 in the final at Beijing's Workers’ Stadium.
His tenure also witnessed remarkable performances in subsequent tournaments, securing the team's runner-up position in Canada and Scotland in 1987 and 1989, respectively. These achievements led FIFA to elevate the competition to a U17 tournament.
Brodricks-Imasuen, fondly called Sabara, not only guided Nigeria's youth teams but also assisted Dutchman Clemens Westerhof in securing Nigeria's runner-up spot at the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Algeria.
Beyond his coaching career, Brodricks-Imasuen made a mark as a player for Bendel Insurance, notably scoring the winning goal in the 1972 Challenge Cup Final against Mighty Jets.
His coaching prowess extended to teams like El-Kanemi Warriors, Udoji United FC, and Bendel Insurance, where he continued to impact the sport at various levels and was well-revered in the coaching circles in Nigeria.