Jack Finch’s name might not be as famous as those of some Nigerian footballers like Samuel Okparaji, Austine Azuka Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo among other superstar footballers who converge on the pitch to show some stunts, still he is vital to their stories and stardom.
They have done their country Nigeria proud and you might not be able to debate their shade in the likes of oracles as they kick the footballs.
The numerous footballers who have ever played in Nigeria’s jersey did not only do that under the sky of their fatherland but went around the world, showing everyone including those who do not care what stuff they are made of.
The Nigeria football team was a robust platform upon which many great talents have stood and shine on, but it did not come to be by error, some people played the foundation now accommodating great edifices today.
One of the foundation laying giants for the Nigeria football team is Jack Finch. Jack Finch, a West Ham, Essex, England born Winger was the first Manager of the Nigeria national football team in 1949.
Finch was the in charge of the Nigeria Touring team; he took charge of the team’s tour across England with their encounters with several opponents in entertaining friendlies.
Though he left the team for Valour of Iceland in 1950, he laid the foundation for Nigeria’s football team; today called the Super Eagles. Finch did not just become a team Manager, but he grew his career as a seasoned footballer with Fulham in 1930.
His 367 appearances in his football career, considering how he got encomiums for the 50 goals he scored during the Second World War and beyond.
He made records with Brentford, Crystal Palace and Colchester United. When Finch met the first team members of Nigeria’s first national football team, the meeting was held at Liverpool docks on Monday, August 1949.
Jack Finch Team Members
Some of the players in this team include Teslim Balogun, Titus Okere, Dokubo, Ottun, Etim Henshaw, (team captain) and Ebenezer.
During the teams first game, a 5-2 victory was secured, and it was the best way to start. He must have gotten enough guts to take a team to England to play without shoes on.
You just ask yourself why footballers would attempt playing football with opponents who are well kitted.You might like to picture the Nigerian football team playing with white elastic ankle and knee support.
Despite what that looked like, Jack Finch sure had some determination and believed in his team members.
He and his boys did some justice to the game and others who met with them; some would say maybe there shoeless legs were good distractions to score cheap goals.
The reactions of the spectators was not a turn off for the guys who travelled to England to do what they think they know how to do best.
Though the players played without shoes on, they did the best they could as they slugged it out with Dulwich Hamlet, Bromley with more victories.
They were not discouraged with their draws against South Liverpool, and Corinthian League XI.
The sun does not shine in its full capacity throughout the day, so when they lost to teams like Athenian League XI, Leytonstone, Bishop Aukland among others.
Finch was born on February 3, 1909, and died November 1993 at the age of 84; he lived his life building things that lived after him.
The story of Jack Finch might not have been told to the world the way it should be, yes, that is the way it is for the foundation of a house, it is not always seen.
The time he spent with the Nigerian team stands uptill now and whatever has been built on that foundation remains on our names and taking responsibility for that is again left to us.