– Clemens Westerhof was appointed Super Eagles coach back in 1989 by the then NFA
– The Dutchman led Nigeria to win AFCON in 1994 and also to their first World Cup appearance
– Fans have taken to social media to celebrate with the icon on his 81st birthday
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Nigeria’s most successful coach, Clemens Westerhof, clocked 81 on Monday, May 3, and received a grand celebration following his remarkable achievements in the game of football.
He was employed by Nigerian authorities to become the national football team coach in 1989 shortly after the team failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup at the expense of Cameroon.
The Dutchman was handed the task of rebuilding the team and the impact was felt instantly as he guided Nigeria to the final of the 1990 AFCON before losing to hosts Algeria in the final.
He coached the Super Eagles to their first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1994 helping the team to reach the second round of the tournament before losing out to eventual runners-up, Italy.
Earlier that year, he tutored Nigeria to win her second AFCON title after the team defeated Zambia 2-1 in the finals hosted by Tunisia.
He is responsible for what could be described as a “golden” period in Nigerian football.
Players such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Nwankwo Kanu, Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi and others, who all went on to successful careers with various high-profile European clubs, entered the world spotlight while playing under Westerhof.
As he celebrates his 81st birthday, fans and lovers have taken to social media to celebrate him as a hero.
Former Nigerian goalkeeper Peterside Idah thanked the coach for handing him his debut with the senior national team.
“Happy 81st birthday to my coach Clemens Westerhof. (He) gave me my first invitation to the national team.”
A fan then wrote:
“Happy Birthday to a great coach. You made us proud!”
“He looks so different here. I understand he is 81 and looks changed.”
Bioreports earlier reported that Former Super Eagles coach Jo Bonfrere was seen alongside ex-Super Eagles stars in a pose with the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
It was gathered that the governor found the back of the net from the penalty spot in an organized game involving the Kogi State Executive council team and the ex-Super Eagles team.
The encounter which was played at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja ended 1-1.
It featured the likes of Austin Okocha, Peter Rufai, Kanu Nwankwo, Tarribo West, Tijani Babangida, Mutiu Adepoju and a host of all ex-internationals who all featured in the star-studded game.