Super Eagles goalkeeper Nwabali honoured in hometown after AFCON heroics for Nigeria

Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali has been conferred with a chieftaincy title in his hometown in Rivers State.

The Chippa United shot-stopper has been touring the country following his impressive showing at the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024).

Nwabali was one of Nigeria’s best performers as the Super Eagles reached the final of the competition, where they lost 2-1 to hosts Ivory Coast.

Stanley Nwabali in action for Chippa United
Photo by Icon Sport

The 27-year-old has received rave reviews since returning to his homeland, having been rewarded by both government and traditional leaders back home.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Nwabali receive chieftaincy title

On Sunday, February 18, Nwabali was conferred with a chieftaincy title by His Royal Majesty, Nzeobi Amida, who is the ruler of the Mgbede community in Egbema Kingdom in Rivers State.

The goalkeeper was subsequently given the title Ugo Egbema, which translates as “The Pride of Egbema Kingdom.”

His Royal Majesty Nzeobi Amida said the honour was in recognition of Nwabali’s performance at the AFCON, which has brought prestige to the Egbema Kingdom.

Nwabali gifted N20 million by Rivers State Governor

This comes after the goalkeeper was earlier gifted a whopping N20 million by Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, last Friday.

Nwabali was also bestowed with the honour of Distinguished Service Star of Rivers State for his outstanding performance at the AFCON.

“I want to join the great and wonderful people of Rivers state to congratulate you, our brother Stanley Nwabali and our wonderful team,” Governor Fubara said afterwards.

The above are in addition to the rewards given to Nwabali and the rest of the Super Eagles squad by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for finishing as runners-up at the AFCON in Ivory Coast.

Upon their return to Nigeria, President Tinubu awarded the players and coaches with the honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).

He also gave each player a flat and a plot of land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for their silver-winning heroics at the AFCON.

Nwabali’s impressive showing at AFCON 2024

Meanwhile, Nwabali rose to the occasion during the AFCON and was one of the standout goalkeepers during the tournament.

The 27-year-old was thrust into the starting line-up after displacing Francis Uzoho and kept four clean sheets in seven matches in the tournament.

Although he was eventually beaten to the goalkeeper of the tournament award by South Africa’s Ronwen Williams, the Nigerian shot-stopper still earned effusive praise for his impressive performances.

Nwabali was uncapped in a competitive game before the AFCON but performed beyond expectations, staking a claim for untested players to be given a chance on the national team.

Nwabali responds to calls to move to Europe

Meanwhile, his outstanding performances at the AFCON have led to the goalkeeper being linked with a move abroad.

In recent weeks, the Nigeria international has been rumoured to be attracting interest from European clubs, with South African side Kaizer Chiefs are reportedly monitoring his situation.

However, reacting to this, the Nigeria number one said although he appreciates the links, he’s not in a rush to move to another club.

“People have been sending messages like they want me to move to Europe or they want me to move to a bigger club,” the Chippa United goalkeeper told Arise News.

“I really appreciate that, but to be honest, one thing about me is that I always feel comfortable even if I’m in a small place; I don’t like to rush.”

Nwabali, who has kept seven clean sheets in 15 league matches in the South African topflight, is currently valued at around €2.5 million.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Nwabali honoured in hometown after AFCON heroics for Nigeria
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.