Henry Nwosu

Henry Nwosu Biography / Profile

Henry Onyemanze Nwosu was born on June 14th, 1963. Born and bred in Surulere, Lagos State, Nwosu hails from Umuoye, Naze, in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State. He spent his entire career as a footballer playing in the Nigerian league. Known as one of the greatest Nigerian midfielders, he holds the record of being the youngest Nigerian player to win the African Nations Cup, a feat which he achieved prior to his 17th birthday in 1980.

Henry Nwosu Age

Henry Nwosu is 61 years old.

Henry Nwosu Early Life

Nwosu grew up in Surulere area of Lagos where he played as a toddler with his age-mates, kicking the popular felele football on any open space around the neighbourhood. He started, at about three years, with kicking oranges, then rubber balls before we graduating to felele and then the real football as he progressed. He also played as a toddler at Obele Odan Boys and Girls Club in Surulere. 

Though he started his primary schooling in Lagos,Salvation Army Primary School, the Nigerian Civil war briefly interrupted his education as his family had to move back to the East where they saw out the war but they were soon back in Lagos the moment the war was over where the young Nwosu resumed his education. After his basic education, he got admitted to Ansar U Deen Secondary School, Falolu in Surulere where he was a student but his stay there was short-lived as he had to be registered at the more famous St Finbarrs where he rubbed shoulders with a crop of talented players including future Nigeria captain Stephen Keshi as well as others. 

Henry Nwosu Career

Bhojson FC was Nwosu's first club before he moved to Wema Bank FC in his last year of secondary school. In-between these clubs, his performances had attracted enough attention and he was soon invited to the first U-20 team in 1977 alongside players like Edema Benson, Franklin Howard, Keshi, Humphrey Edobor, Sylvanus Okpala, Lucky Ibhafidon, late Yomi Adedeji, Ahmed Jumaare and Idris Musa among many others. The team however could not qualify for the U-20 World Cup but their potentials caught the eye of numrous clubs. When he finished secondary school in 1979, he was snapped up by New Nigerian Bank (NNB) of Benin FC which had one of the finest collections of players in the country. 

1979 was the year that everything came together for him. Fresh out of secondary school and playing for one of the biggest clubs in the country, he got invited to the senior national team, the Green Eagles when he was just about 16 years old. He has just been signed on by NNB and was lucky to have a coach who really believed in his abilities. Coach Willy Bazuaye was then in charge of the club and there had been a friendly game between the Green Eagles and a selected 11 in Benin City. He was included in the selected side which was an indication of the confidence the coaches had in the ability of the young talent. The game ended in a 1-0 victory for the national team but he was adjudged as the best player on the pitch by everyone who had come to watch that day.

Few months later Nwosu was invited to join the National team which was preparing for the African Cup of Nations to be hosted the following year on home soil. On his first training day at National Stadium Hockey pitch, he saw players like Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu, Muda Lawal, Kunle Awesu, Adokiye Amesiamaka and others who he had only watched on television filing out for training and he was nervous. 

By the time the Nations Cup squad was to be announced, Nwosu had become an integral part of the team and had played virtually all the friendly games so it was not a surprise that he was on the roster. He went on to become the youngest Nigerian to lift the Nations Cup. On March 22nd, 1980 when the Green Eagles lifted the AFCON for the first time, Nwosu was 84 days shy of his 17th birthday.

As a result of the windfall from the Nations Cup win – the players got a house each in Festac Town – and the kind of money he was making, Nwosu became known as the ‘youngest millionaire’ in football circles.  After the dizzying heights of winning the AFCON in 1980 as well as representing the country at the Olympics of that year in Moscow where he scored Nigeria’s only goal of the competition (the other being an own goal in the loss to Kuwait), Nwosu and the Eagles were roughly brought down to earth at the AFCON in 1982 when they could not go beyond the group stages.

However, Nigeria stormed back at the next edition in Ivory Coast in 1984, going all the way to the final with Nwosu, at just 21 years, being one of the more experienced players in the team of rookies assembled by coach Festus Onigbinde. They faced Cameroun in the final game but, despite taking an early lead, were walloped 3-1 by a much more established Indomitable Lions side which paraded the likes of Roger Milla, Thomas Nkono and Theophile Abega amongst many others.

Two years later, they failed to make it to Egypt ‘86 AFCON as well as Mexico for the FIFA World Cup but, like in 1984, they went all the way to the final in Morocco in 1988. That achievement was however overshadowed by Mauritanian referee Idrissa Sarr’s decision to disallow Nwosu’s goal and later awarded a questionable penalty to the Camerounians which was the only goal of the game.

After being a part of the national team for nine straight years, Nwosu sustained an injury and even though he made the team to the Seoul Olympics in 1988, he was an unused substitute in all three group games played by Nigeria. He also missed a couple other games for the national team but was back in 1989 during the Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers for 1990. He drew the curtains on a 10-year national team career with the AFCON qualifier against Togo in Lome in 1989.

After the Nations Cup in 1988, he left the shores of Nigeria for Ivorien giants ASEC Mimosas of Abidjan. After two seasons with ASEC, Nwosu moved to Racing Bafoussam of Cameroun who were campaigning on the continent. He was with the Camerounian side until 1992 before returning to ACB, his last club before leaving Nigeria. After a season, playing in the dual capacity of player and manager, he retired from active footballing.

He cut his managerial teeth with Iyayi FC of Benin before coming back to Lagos to coach Deji Tinubu’s Atletico FC. His big break came in 1999 when he handled Iwuanyawu Nationale (now known as Heartland FC) but he didn’t stay with them for more than a season. He went down south again to coack Ibom Stars (now called Akwa United FC) but his stay was cut short when he was drafted to join the coaching crew of the 2002 World Cup-bound Super Eagles.

After the World Cup, he returned home and coached a youth academy for one year. He was later drafted to assist Samson Siasia in preparing the U-23 team for the 2008 Olympics which eventually won ended up as runners-up to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina. He came back and was entrusted with the job of putting together a new U-17 team to represent Nigeria at the cadet World Cup to be hosted on home soil in 2009. He was later removed when he had administrative issues with officials but he soon landed the managerial job at Union Bank FC for two years. His contract was not renewed so went back to his youth team. He was contracted by Gateway FC of Abeokutain 2013 and was there until the end of the 2014/2015 season.

Henry Nwosu Personal Life

Nwosu had his first son with a lady he met after seconday school at the age of 19. The two did not get married. Years later he got married and has three boys and a girl from the union. Nwosu is a brother of ex-international, Nwankwo Kanu. He was a close friend to the late Sam Okwaraji who slopped and died during a game against Algeria in 1989.

Henry Nwosu Awards

After winning the Nations cup in 1980 with Nigeria, Nwosu and his fellow teammates were honoured with the Member of the Order of Niger (MON)

Henry Nwosu Net Worth

His net worth is not available.

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