When Will The United States Host The World Cup Peter Rufai – Nigeria’s Best Goalkeeper

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Peter Rufai – Nigeria’s Best Goalkeeper

The history of Nigerian football will not be complete without mentioning the contribution of goalkeeper Peter Rufai. The 47-year-old former Stationary Stores Lagos shot-stopper made history in 1986 when he became the first Nigerian goalkeeper to move out of the country in pursuit of his professional career. He was signed by AS Dragon FC of Benin Republic.

The soft spoken Rufai travels extensively after playing for Belgian club teams – Lokeren and Beveren before unexpectedly moving to Go Ahead Eagles of Holland in the 1993-1994 where he was selected to play for Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations 1994 hosted by Tunisia. . He helped Nigeria lift the coveted trophy for the second time after defeating Zambia in the final.

His performance in the Africa Cup of Nations earned him a call-up to the Nigerian squad that played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup hosted by the United States of America. As captain and goalkeeper of the team, he managed to ensure that Nigeria put in a strong performance in its first World Cup outing. The team managed to reach the round of 16, before succumbing to the more experienced Italians who were inspired by Roberto Baggio. The match ended 2-1 in favor of the Italians.

Peter Rufai who was fondly called “Dodo Mayana” by his ardent fans, returned to the Super Eagles job in the 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by Spain. However, he could not help the team reach the round of 16, as they were beaten by Denmark in a one-sided match played at the Stade de France. Dodo Mayana watched helplessly as the Danes put four goals behind him.

Incidentally, that game was his very last international outing for the senior National team before he eventually quit. His best ever performance was in the colors of Spanish La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna, where he made a name for himself despite being the backup to Cameroonian goalkeeper Jacques Songo’o for two consecutive seasons.

Peter Rufai currently lives in Nigeria, where he organizes football clinics in selected cities to help discover talented goalkeepers. He will be best remembered as one of the best goalkeepers Nigeria has ever had, having earned the respect of his teammates and the Confederation of African Football who named him the 10th CAF Goalkeeper of the Century. It is worth noting that Rufai is the only Nigerian goalkeeper so mentioned by the African Football body.

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