Godwin Odiye is a former Nigeria international football defender. Odiye was born in Lagos in April 1956 to the family of Jonah and Cecilia Odiye. He attended St. Paul School, Ebute Metta, Eko Boys and then St. Finbarrs Akoka. He played football at both his primary and secondary schools. At St. Finbarrs, he started out as a left-back. In 1975, he was called to play for a junior team called the Nigerian Academicals. The team defeated Ghana in 1973, giving Odiye attention among scouts.

Odiye began playing club football in Nigeria for third division league side, Nestlé and later National Bank of Lagos. While playing for National Bank, Odiye also worked with the Bank as a clerk. He worked in the morning and trained in the evening.

 In 1978 Odiye was recruited by the University of San Francisco to play Collegiate soccer. Odiye moved to the United States to attend College and after graduating in 1983, he for a local semi-professional club Greek – American A. C. which he would help win the 1985 and 1994 U.S. Open Cup. Odiye made several appearances for the Nigeria Senior national team, including FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches, and played at the 1976 and 1980 African Cup of Nations finals. 

He is well known for scoring an own goal in a 1978 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against Tunisia which many soccer pundits and fans failed to understand that football is a game of mistakes. Many football players made such errors while playing for their countries but were appreciated and tagged as heroes, notably Colombian flamboyant goalkeeper Rene Higuita and Senegalese Papa Bouba Diop at the 1990 and 2002 FIFA World Cup respectively.

The history of Nigerian football will not be completed without mention of Godwin Odiye.

Let’s appreciate the efforts of our Ex Internationals.

Author: Seyi Awoleye

Los-Angeles, USA