A former Nigeria international goalkeeper and later an assistant coach of the Super Eagles, Joseph Eric (A.K.A Joe Erico), is dead.
He was nicknamed ‘Erico’ by ardent NEPA FC fans while he was the team’s goalkeeper, he was also known as Jogo Bonito.
According to a family source, the flamboyant trainer of trainers and respected nurturer of talents “complained of body pains and was treated for malaria, only to be found dead in his bed at dawn on Thursday.”
He relayed the telephone conversation he had with the late football legend’s wife, Mosunmola: “He (Erico) was ill for about three days and we took him to the hospital. He complained of body pain. He was okay and we came back home.
“But just yesterday (Wednesday) night, he started doing somehow and he later slept. I tried to wake him up this morning but he was stone dead.”
With his passage, the trio of technical crew that guided Nigeria to qualify for 2002 World Cup and the Mali 2002 Africa Cup of Nations have passed on.
Both Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shaibu died two days apart in 2016.
Erico was an apostle of the Brazilian brand of football popularly known as ‘Jogo Bonito’.
He made Julius Berger FC to play this brand of football when the team mesmerised the domestic league scene in the early 1990s with Erico in charge as head coach.
He was in the Green Eagles team that placed third at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations in Ethiopia.