English FA To Honour Nigerian, Benjamin Odeje As First Black Man To Play For England
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By Agency Report
The English Football Association will finally recognise Benjami Odeje as the first black man to play for England after a 51-year wait.
The former Charlton star is set to be special guest at Wembley for match against Germany.
Odeje has waited over half a century for the FA to acknowledge his position as the first-ever black footballer to feature in an international fixture for England at any level – but his 51-year wait is coming to an end.
A BBC investigation in 2013 identified Odeje, who was born in Nigeria, as the first black Three Lions player when he was selected for England schoolboys, as a 15-year-old, versus Northern Ireland in front of 70,000 people at Wembley in March 1971.
The FA has now agreed to formally invite Odeje, who came through the ranks at Charlton during the late 1960s and 1970s, as a special guest to England’s UEFA Nations League fixture against Germany later this month.
Odeje, who was nicknamed Pele because of his prolific goalscoring record, went on to make four further appearances for England schoolboys, scoring once – in a 5-1 win over Holland.
The move to finally endorse Odeje’s standing was first mooted by Paul Elliott, chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, earlier this year.
Odeje will now be officially recognised for an honour long overdue.