News: ‘No Coach – no match’

On Wednesday 8 May 1968, Kenya faced off with Nigeria for the first time ever - at the City Stadium, Nairobi. 

Peter Anieke struck twice in the second half, with a header and lob to give Nigeria, then referred to as the Green Eagles, a 2-1 win over Kenya who got a consolation from Abaluhya FC's offensive midfielder John Ambani.


The game kicked off 25 minutes late as Kenya dilly-dallied in the changing room that left referee Bill Peet with no choice but to call off the game that was to kick off at 4.45pm five minutes to time due to darkness.

Some key players for Kenya such as Jonathan Niva, William Chege Ouma and Joe Okeyo arrived late - partially explaining the delayed kickoff, due to work commitments to miss out on the game. Their absence gave a chance -and starts to Matayo, Shivachi as well as keeper George Karioki who was later replaced in the second half by regular James Siang'a. 

Though named in the squad, sharp shooter Livingstone Madegwa was injured and stayed out. 

Nigeria landed in Kenya straight from Addis Ababa where they had played a reverse 1970 Olympic Game qualifier against host Ethiopia. They lost 1-0 but qualified for the Mexico City games having won the home game 3-1.

However events that occurred a day before the City Stadium clash - watched by 5,000 attending fans could have seen the historic tie called off.

John Kasyoka

While arriving from Addis, the Nigeria contingent was let through by the Kenyan Authorities except for a key member of their setup – the Coach József Ember. Being a Hungarian National, Ember was required to have a Visa to be accepted in. 

After heated arguments over the barring of the Nigerian Coach from making his entry, several negotiations then ensued that saw the Nigerian Embassy, the Immigration Department and Football Association Chair John Kasyoka all involved. 

It was then agreed that Ember be issued with an immediate temporary Visa to allow him into the country. But as the back and forth continued prior to the issuance, dejected members of the Nigerian team, sitting at the arrival lounge, had made it loud and clear; “No Coach – no match!". 


Nigeria: Lawal Inua Rigogo, Anthony Igwe (Vice Captain), Augustine Mazelli Ofuokwu, Sebastian Broderick, Segun Olumodeji, Sammy Opone (Captain), Sunday Ekunwe, Peter Anieke, Baba Ali (Paul Hamilton), Samuel Okoye Garba, Mohammed Lawal (Abdul Ganiyu Salami)

Subs: Muwiya Oshode, Clement Obojomeme, Peter Fregene

Coach: József Ember

Kenya: George Karioki (James Siang'a - 46), Charles Makunda, Shivachi, Anthony Mukabwa, Moses Wabwayi (Captain), Daniel Anyanzwa, Matayo (John Ambani - 46), Walter Molo, Samson Odore, Joe Kadenge, John Nyawanga

Subs: Jonathan Niva, Joe Okeyo, William Ouma, Livingstone Madegwa

Coach: Elijah Lidonde

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