Bassey Isoni BASSEY
The executive and members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Cross River State chapter are mourning over the sudden demise of one of the goal keeping icons in Nigeria, Joseph Effiong Eric also known as Joe Erico.
A condolence message jointly endorsed by the state chairman, Mr. Albert Andinam and the assistant secretary, Essien Ita and sent to the bereaved family described the loss as that of Cross River State which he hailed from and teeming supporters of the then famous stationery stores football club of Lagos where he rose to stardom, to be the first choice goal keeper for the then Green Eagles of Nigeria.
SWAN recalled that the late Erico remained solo to constantly remind the sporting public that he remained as a reference point after the exit of the legendary Hogan Bassey in boxing each time Cross River was remembered as having produced outstanding heroes in sports.
Erico who hails from Creek Town in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State entered the history book as the first national goalkeeper when Green Eagles of Nigeria in 1976 at Dire-Dawa Ethiopia won its First bronze medal during the Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria to signal its arrival in the continental scene.
The sports writers further added that the then goal tender transformed into a coach of repute for the late Israel Adebayo owned Stationery Stores FC of Lagos and later got a national call-up with the late Stephen Keshi to tinker the Super Eagles to the global level.
In a related development, Cross River SWAN has extended condolence message to the bereaved family, the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the death of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Nsikak Eduok, who passed on late last year.
They restated that its relationship with Eduok, while in the service and later after retirement confirmed the deceased as a sportsman and an individual who appreciated the development of youths and humanity through sports.
SWAN further recalled that late Eduok was instrumental to the discovery of more boxing talents in the Akwa-Cross region of Nigeria when he sponsored the maiden edition of late Hogan Bassey memorial boxing tournament between Cross River and Akwa Ibom that was held at the African Club in Calabar.