1998 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winning coach Ismaila Mabo passed away on Monday, 13 March 2023 in Jos, after a protracted illness, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed.
He died in the early hours of Monday aged 80.
Mabo is unarguably the most successful women’s coach in Africa, having won the inaugural Women’s AFCON with Nigeria, scoring 28 goals without conceding on home soil in 1998.
He went on to guide the team to Africa’s best finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with a quarterfinal berth at USA 1999 edition, the farthest by an African team to date. During his watch, he discovered two of African Women’s Player of the Year winners, Cynthia Uwak and Perpertua Nkwocha.
The veteran tactician was the only coach to qualify Nigeria for all women’s international events, including the 1998 and 2000 Women’s AFCON, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2000 and 2004 Olympics Games.
As a central defender, Mabo was part of the successful era at Mighty Jets of Jos between the late 1960s and 1970s.
He also represented the West African nation at the senior level, making his debut in a 1972 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Congo in Brazzaville on November 22, 1970.