Super Eagles’ former goalkeeper trainer and assistant coach, Joe Erico is dead.
Erico, nicknamed ‘Jogo Bonito’, passed away at the age of 74 in his sleep in his Lagos residence.
His demise was confirmed to journalists by a close family member Tomiwa Aghedo who said the country’s coaching icon gave up the ghost after complaining of stomach ache a night before.
Erico began his football career with the Nigerian Police Force, NEPA, Nigeria Railways, Electricity Connectors of Nigeria and Julius Berger – where he won several diadems.
He attracted the national teams’ selectors in 1968 and he was picked to man Nigeria’s goalpost alongside Prince Zion Ogunfeyimi by coach Tiko Jelisavcic for the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations staged in Ethiopia.
There, he played a crucial role as Jelisavic’s men placed third after defeating Egypt 3-2 in the play-off at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
He also introduced the style of play in Nigeria in the 90s’ – while still the coach of Julius Berger FC aka Adewale Bridge boys.
Erico alongside late coach Shuaibu Amodu and late Stephen Keshi qualified the Super Eagles for the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, but they were dismissed before the Mundial.
Coach Erico is survived by his wife and four children. His burial arrangements will be announced in the coming days.