Mabo’s last wish for Falcons — Son
Majib Ismaila Mabo, son of late former Super Falcons coach, Ismaila Mabo, has exclusively shared with The PUNCH his dad’s final words before his demise.
The former Falcons coach died during the early hours of Monday morning in his residence in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, after a prolonged illness.
Regarded as the most successful Nigerian coach in women’s football, Mabo led the Falcons to their best-ever outing at the Women’s World Cup — a quarter-final finish at the 1999 edition — and was also coach of the side at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
Speaking with The PUNCH, his son revealed Mabo’s last words and his request from the Falcons before his death.
“Two days before his demise, my father’s last words were about the Super Falcons and he never stopped talking about the players who were with him.
“He said he was proud of his girls and he mentioned names like Mercy Akide, Lami Adio, Patience Avre and so many of them. He said they assisted him financially to support his health issue and all these were coming two days ago but we never knew he was sending a message.
“He said he was very proud of the team and he also hoped the current Falcons can continue to make the continue proud.”
Majib, who is currently an assistant coach with Mighty Jets, also cleared the air on the contradicting figures as regards his late father’s age.
While the Nigeria Football Federation stated that the coach died at 80, Wikipedia placed his age at 78.
“He was born July 1944 and he would have been 79 on his next birthday. But we thank God for the life that he lived because he was loved by everyone and almost everyone regarded him as a father which is something that we are proud of.”
Mabo was among the founding fathers of Mighty Jets FC in 1969 and became the first and longest captain of the club. He was fondly referred to as Field Marshal, Skippo or Captain Fantastic during his days.
He played for the national team, then known as the Green Eagles, alongside the likes of Sam Garba Okoye and the Atuegbu brothers.
He went for his first professional coaching course in Hungary in 1976/77 and returned home to become the coach of Mighty Jets.
He attended other courses in Germany and other European countries.
After leaving the Plateau State Sports Council in 1991, he became an assistant to late Falcons coach Paul Hamilton, and it was an era that marked his journey in women’s football.
They won their first Women’s Nations Cup in 1998 with 28 goals without conceding and went on to win another AWCON title with the Falcons in 2000.
He took the team to Sydney Olympics and came back home to win the gold medal in the African Games by defeating Cameroon 1-0, while also guiding the Falcons to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup in 1999, a record that is yet to be broken.