FIFA U-17 World Cup
Nigeria v Spain
Columbia v Switzerland
AMID a raucous atmosphere at the U.J. Esuene stadium on Monday evening, one man sat perfectly still in the VIP tribune.
The 89-year-old Ekeng Henshaw, dressed in traditional green garb, sits watching intently as Nigeria’s juniors dominate Korea Republic in the first half of their quarter-final in Calabar.
FIFA.com managed to break the old man’s concentration for a chat at the half; five minutes after the lively Koreans drew level at 1-1.
“I enjoy watching this young team,” says Henshaw, who holds the distinction of being the first-ever captain of the Nigerian senior national team, the Super Eagles.
“These boys here look very nice on the ball. It fills me with joy to see them playing and expressing themselves.
I see some real talent out there, it’s just too bad they lost concentration and conceded a goal. They’ll have to get their heads back in it if they want to win this tournament,” added the Calabar native, who played in the Nigerian national team’s first game in 1949, donning the skipper’s armband.
Today, the young Eaglets meet Spain in Lagos, and though the old captain’s feeble body won’t allow him to attend, he will be with them in spirit.
“I think they can win, if they play with pride and passion,” he concludes with a kindly smile.