Nigerian athlete Michael Eric has officially announced the launch of a charity organization – Erico JR foundation – in honour of his father and football legend, Joe Erico who died recently at the age of 72 after a brief illness.
Established on the eve of his passing, Michael confirmed his personal conviction to start this initiative, thus the birth of the Erico JR foundation.
Born Joseph Bassey Eric, a native of Odukpani local government area of Cross River State, southern part of Nigeria, Joe Erico made his first sports debut for the then Green Eagles of Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Zambia in July 1973.
He was the official goalkeeper for all Nigeria six matches for the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations for Ethiopia, where the Eagles finished third – making it the first time the country won medal during AFCON. He also led the Super Eagles team to bronze-medal finish for the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations finals for Mali.
Reckoned as one of the best international goalkeepers at the time, Erico alongside late Amodu Shaibu and Stephen Keshi were responsible for the significant turn of events for Nigeria during the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals under Dutchman Johannes Bonfrere. With three matches to go and a must-win game for all, the trio delivered and qualified Nigeria for Korea/Japan.
Speaking about the honorary event, Michael Eric said “I want to use this event to shine light on the legacy of Joe Erico. The man he was, the uniqueness of his personality and also continue what he instilled in me as a person and young man.
“He taught me to be thankful and give back and that’s what I’m going to do. If he had 20 of something and someone was in immediate need, he was willing to give it all. Erico JR Foundation aims to give a lot of opportunity to the kids and a hope for a brighter future,” Michael Eric said.
The event which is slated for Tuesday, February 2 2021 at Warriors Basketball Court, Industrial Avenue, Ilupeju, Odi-Olowo, Lagos will ensure maximum compliance to the COVID-19 protocols and government directives as safety masks will be available and social distancing practiced.
The ‘Memorial Games Night’ will feature several games and tributes in honour of Joe Erico’s passion and love for sports and a celebration of the life and legacy of the former Super Eagles goalkeeper and assistant coach.