1949: The Nigerian Football Associations English Tour

For a few years now I have been interested in collecting items ( photos, letters, souvenirs) focusing on the Nigerian football team that toured the UK in 1949.

I’ve found some great items along the way. A few days back I picked this up online 😁

It’s a signed “souvenir programme” from one of their matches!

Background Information:
In August 1949, 18 Nigerian footballers along with their manager Capt, D.H Holley would leave the shores of Nigeria for the first time to embark as an international team on a one month tour of England.

After their two week Journey by sea to Liverpool, the teams manager Capt. Holley was given a telegram. It read “His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh sends to the team his very best wishes and hopes they will have an enjoyable visit.”

The players were in the United Kingdom to play nine goodwill matches .

The teams Captain was Etim Henshaw
They won their first match against Marine Crosby Football Club 5- 2.

This programme is from their second match against Bishop Auckland Football Club which resulted in a loss for Nigeria, 5 -2

A significant outcome of the 1949 UK tour was that it opened the door for the migration of Nigerian footballers to the country.

Some members of the 1949 tour would return and become the first generation of Nigerian footballers to play for English clubs – Ottun (South Liverpool F.C.), Titus Okere (Swindon Town), and Tesilimi Balogun (Peterborough United and Queen’s Park Rangers).

The Nigerian team would also pave the way for other African football tours to the UK – the 1951 Gold Coast (Ghana) tour and 1956 Uganda tour. The English Football Association sent an English team in 1958 to tour Nigeria and Ghana.

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