Asuquo Ekepe: The First Nigerian To Score At The African Cup Of Nations

Ajegena Akolo Richard

Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, with a population of over two hundred million in recent years has produced amazing talents who have represented the West African country at the biggest stage in sports especially the round leather game.

Since Nigeria made her debut in the African Cup of Nations which was hosted by Ghana in 1963, there have been a number of memorable moments.

One of such moments was Nigeria’s first ever goal in the competition. This feat was achieved by Asuquo Ekepe, earning him a place forever in the history books.

Asuquo Ekepe made his international debut for Nigeria on 6 October 1956 against Togo. He played his club football with Lagos Railways, Secretariat FC, Ibadan Lions, and Western Rovers during his active footballing career.

Asuguo became the first Nigerian to score in an Africa Cup of Nations scoring on the 73rd minute in a 6-3 defeat to United Arab Republic in the 1963 African Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Nigeria also lost her second game four nil to Sudan; a result that confirmed Nigeria’s elimination from the African championship that year.

The Nigerian eighteen-man contingent to that competition was led by Brazilian Jorge Augustos Penna who was the head coach of the Green Eagles as they were then called.

The players were Emmanuel Omiunu, Lateef Gomez, Adeniyi Omowon, Isaac Nnando, Adetunji Shotay, Abiodu lajide, Godwin Achebe and Babajide Johnson.

Others were Emmanuel Remi, Augustus Oduah, Burniston Olayombo, Kaiser Blanksan and Asuquo Ekepe.

Paul Hamilton, Joseph Bassey, Albert Onyeanwuna, Shedrack Ajaero and Chukwumah Igweonu completed the delegation.

Asuquo Ekpe won 24 caps for the Green Eagles scoring 14 goals during his career that lasted from 1956 to 1963.

He was the older sibling of another Green Eagles star Effiong Ekepe. In the match against Dahomey on 2nd February, 1963, they became the first siblings to play for Nigeria in the same game. The went on to play together for Nigeria a number of times. This earned him the nickname ‘Ekpe Senior’.

Asuquo Ekepe died on 30 January 2016 in Calabar.

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