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The Life and Times of Ismaila Mabo
Ismaila Mabo Nakande belongs to the fast depleting ex international football stars that dominated the game in this clime. His death in the early hours of yesterday was the anticlimax of the illness that he battled for several years.
Born on July 15, 1944 in Jos, Ismaila Mabo grew up in the Tin City and made his name playing the round leather for the football club that was the face of Jos- The Mighty Jets FC.
Mabo captained Mighty Jets and also represented the country as a formidable defender with the Green Eagles.
A gifted central defender, Mabo started as a schoolboy international with the Nigeria academicals team that broke the chain of Ghana’s constant whipping of Nigerian teams, when they defeated Ghana’s academicals 1-0 in Accra on 13th February 1966.
It was the first time any Nigerian team would defeat a Ghanaian football team on Ghanaian soil. Six days later, the Nigerian boys again defeated their Ghanaian counterparts 2-1 in Lagos.
Mabo’s teammates included; Peter ‘Baby’ Anieke, Tony ‘World 2’ Igwe, the illustrious Sam Garba Okoye and Eyo Essien.
After that accomplishment, Mabo joined Mighty Jets of Jos and was part of that club’s famous squad of the late 1960s and 1970s that made headlines in the Challenge Cup. He also featured for the senior national team, making his debut in a 1972 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Congo in Brazzaville on 22nd November 1970.
Mabo would later go into coaching, and was in the dug-out as Head Coach when the Super Falcons defeated North Korea 3-2, lost to USA and defeated Denmark 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999. The team stretched Brazil at that quarter-final stage before losing by a golden goal in extra time in Washington DC on July 1, 1999. That feat remains Super Falcons greatest performance at the World Cup to date.
He also managed the Super Falcons at the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics.