The Nigeria Football Federation on Thursday paid glowing tributes to former Nigeria player and coach, Paul Hamilton, who passed on same day in Lagos after a protracted illness.
Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, NFF General Secretary, said: “We are in terrible shock. ‘Wonderboy’ Hamilton was a perfect gentleman in the real sense of the word, despite being a former international player for Nigeria and a Chief Coach of the senior national team.
“He worked very hard and with his whole heart for Nigeria in all spheres, as a player, a coach and as an administrator. The Nigeria football family will miss him dearly.”
Hamilton, who played for the senior national team in the 1960s and early 1970s, including featuring in the football tournament at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, died in the early hours of Thursday in Lagos. He was said to have been diagnosed of heart and kidney related health issues some months ago, and had his right leg amputated early this year.
Nicknamed ‘Wonderboy’ for his delicate skills and on-field wizardry, Hamilton was at a few times head coach of the senior national team, including taking the reins for the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying series, before Dutchman Clemens Westerhorf took over with only the last match of the campaign (away to Cameroon in Yaounde) left in the series.
He was also head coach of the Nigeria U20 squad that took the bronze medals at the FIFA World Youth Championship (now known as FIFA U20 World Cup) in the Soviet Union in 1985.
‘Wonderboy’ was also the first head coach of the senior women national team, Super Falcons, and steered the team to the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup final competitions.
He was also at different times Head of Technical Department and Head of Lagos Liaison Office of the Nigeria Football Federation.
Hamilton had battled several ailments that led to amputation of his leg at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) earlier this year.
He died at the military hospital on Thursday at the age of 75.