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Edema Fuludu: My Best XI

Edema Fuludu: My Best XI
April 29
16:04 2015

In our second series of My Best XI, we caught up with Edema Fuludu during the burial ceremony of Willy Bazuaye in Benin, Edo state for his dream team.

Fuludu was in the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia and unsurprisingly, his team is dominated by players from that team.

GOALKEEPER

Peter Rufai

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His presence and command of his defence was awesome. I would have chosen Emmanuel Okala – an earlier great – but I played with and experienced Rufai at close range.

RIGHT BACK

Yisa Sofoluwe

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The ‘defence minister’ himself! He’s unarguably my choice at right full back. Sofoluwe was clean and calculating defender at the club and national team levels. A gem in the shirts of Abiola Babes and Green Eagles.

LEFT BACK

Ben Iroha

A left wing attacker who was used as a makeshift defender in a game his club, Bendel United FC, played in Lagos. The Super Eagles coach, Clemens Westerhof, was among the spectators that day. He became a permanent left back for the national team afterwards. Ben was quick and attack conscious while not forgetting his primary duty – defending.  He understood the tricks of many attackers.

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CENTRAL DEFENSE

Stephen Keshi

The Big Boss had the leadership quality and tenacity to move his team forward. He was a commander in all the clubs he played for. He had the vision and ability to initiate attack moving every lieutenant in the rear along.

Uche Okechukwu

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The Gentle Giant was an ideal foil to any top strikers’ plan of scoring. Playing against him was a hurdle for me because of his size. He was big and quick and you must go the long route to beat him.

MIDFIELD

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Sunday Oliseh

Oliseh was not very popular in the Nigerian league until he went to Europe. But on getting a call-up he became the best holding midfielder in Nigeria.  Emeka Ezeugo was also a marshal, but Oliseh had more impact and made more appearances.

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Moses Kpakor

My captain and teammate at BCC Lions of Gboko. He was the ‘policeman’ of Westerhof’s Super Eagles at Senegal ’92 Nations Cup. Sadly, injury cut his career short. Kpakor had one of the best visions in midfield and could give unbelievable defence splitting passes.  Monday Agbontaen aka Kakaraka is also one great that I played with – a mesmerising midfielder with so much talent.  He played for NNB, Bendel Insurance, Julius Berger and Super Eagles. He’ll make the bench in My Best XI.

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Austin Jay Jay Okocha

He was one of the best to have come out of the African continent.

FORWARD

Segun Odegbami

I watched him play and was amazed at his speed and agility. He may not have played in Europe, but you cannot take his versatility away from him.

Adokiye Amiesimaka

This position gave me a headache! In Amiesimaka, Humphrey Edobor and Emmanuel Amuneke, I sincerely didn’t know who to pick. If I have all three in my team, then the opposition will determine who starts. For now, though, I go for Amiesimaka.

Rashidi Yekini

Nigeria’s all-time top centre forward – a shoot at sight goal scorer!

Perfect Pitch-R

FORMATION: 4-3-3

Surely my opinion is subjective but this team is the picture in my mind’s eye based on experience.  Some of the players I played with and against while the others I watched. In summary, I feel good about this team!

THE MAN EDEMA

edema fuludu

Edema Fuludu came into national limelight with New Nigeria Bank FC of Benin in the 1986-87 league season.

Before then, he had gained admission to study Business Administration in UNIBEN in 1983. He broke into the school’s team and was part of the squad to the National University Games – NUGA ’84 – at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University.

In 1985, he was made captain of the team and led them to NUGA ‘86 at the University of Ibadan.

Fuludu signed for Union Bank FC of Benin while in school and won the Bendel state league with them. He was the highest goal scorer even as a midfielder.

In 1986-87 season, his coach at Union Bank Godwin Izilien got a contract with NNB FC and took Fuludu with him.

It was while playing for NNB that he got invited to the Flying Eagles preparatory to Chile ’87 FIFA Youth Championship but his degree exams disrupted that honour of representing the country in Chile.

In 1991, senior national team invitation came after winning the Cup Winners Cup aka Mandela Cup with BCC Lions of Gboko.

His first cap was on January 7, 1991 against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou, in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier to Senegal ‘92.

Fuludu is now the vice chairman of Delta state football association.

 

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