My mother pleaded with my father to allow me play football — Taribo West
Pastor Taribo West, a former Nigeria of Nigeria and AC Milan of Italy defender, has opened up on his heart touching past, revealing that if his father had had his way, he (Taribo), would have become a road side mechanic instead of football that has now given him fame and fortune.
West spoke on the sidelines of Lifetime Achievement honour awarded to him by Lagos based media company, Our Moment Newspaper.
The event took place in Ikeja, Lagos, with other notable Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of human endeavour, including veteran Nollywood star, Segun Arinze, News Caster, Entertainer and actor, Jide Alabi, immediate past President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria, DGN, Fred Amata., immediate Past Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos State Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti., Chairman, Photojournalists Association of Nigeria PJAN, Abiodun Ajala, 39-year-old 2023 Nigerian Presidential Election Aspirant and CEO e-pay Limited, Victor Ani-Laju, among others.
“I thank the organisers of this award for honouring me today”, the former Julius Berger and Rangers defender said while appreciating his award.
“I am indeed grateful”, he added and looked back on his career path. “My journey to being a World famous football player wasn’t easy”, he confessed. “The war started right from my father’s house in far away Port Harcourt Rivers State, some decades ago. “My father actually wanted me to be a road side mechanic. My mother resisted strongly. “She begged and begged him to allow me have, at least, a secondary school education, but he refused.
“The struggle led me to running away from my father’s house in Port Harcourt. That was many years ago.
“I was still at a very tender age then. I ran to Lagos, and while there, I stated my struggles.
“But, I thank God that all that is history now. I am the rejected stone that later became the corner stone of the house”, West enthused.
Taribo, 47, won the Olympic Games soccer gold medal with Nigeria U23 team, Drea Team, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
He also helped Super Eagles win 2000 AFCON silver medal in Lagos.
At club level, West helped his then French side, Auxerre, win the 1995/1996 French Cup as well as the 1997/98 UEFA Cup with Inter of Italy.
He also won the First League of Serbia and Montenegro with Partizan in 2002/2003 before calling time on his glittering career after an unsuccessful short stint with Iranian club, Paykan in 2007.
Taribo also revealed that he’s engaged in several trades since he hanged his career booth.
“After quitting football., I have ventured into several trades including football academy, philanthropy and missionary work”, he said.
“I run a football academy in Lagos at present where we discover and train young talents for European Clubs.
“I also got involved in so many philanthropic works where we assisted many indigent students and businessmen and women.
“Then, I’m the General Overseer of Shelter in the Storm Ministry, an end time deliverance church in Lagos”.
Capped 42 times by Super Eagles, West played for the Super Eagles between 1994 to 2006.
During his illustrious playing career., he played for big European Clubs like Auxerre, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Derby County of England among others.
West was part of the Super Eagles that represented Nigeria at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, 2000 African Cup of Nations in Ghana/Nigeria., 2002 African Cup of Nations in Mali., 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Earlier, editor of Our Moment Newspaper, David Olarenwaju, In his opening remarks, thanked all those who made it to the event and advised all the award recipients to keep up the spirit and continue to do more for humanity.
“I am very glad this evening to witness this great occasion. This is an event that was first held in 2006 and it has continued to wax stronger every year.
“This year’s edition was slightly affected by the Corona Virus pandemic as forty percent of invited guests could not make it to the occasion.
“However, we thank those who made it and we believe this award will spur them more to do more for humanity”.