Jimmy Elidrissi: Former Nigeria goalkeeper dies aged 74

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Elidrissi in 1982 playing for Tottenham

Former Nigeria international goalkeeper Jimmy Elidrissi has died in Moscow at the age of 74.

It is understood he died as a result of complications from heart surgery.

“The life of a goalkeeper can go either way at any time,” said Elidrissi’s son, Joseph, who played for the team in the 1970s.

Elidrissi played more than 400 games in the European and South American leagues, and is considered one of the finest goalkeeper of his generation.

He won 58 caps for Nigeria and represented his country at the 1972, 1976 and 1978 World Cups, and at the 1978 Copa America.

“The amount of players in our team that we lost during the first four World Cups makes it very sad to lose a legend like our father, like a father,” said Nigerian international Okocha in a statement.

“He was a great goalkeeper, but he was also a great man and leader. He was a real man of the people. He was like a big brother to us and we were more like cousins.”

In 1970, he started his career at French club Cannes before moving to USSR side Krasnodar, where he remained until 1973.

However, there he represented both teams for the rest of his career.

After six months he returned to the Premier League with Tottenham, but had to retire after breaking his leg in 1975.

Later in his career he played for Dinamo Bucharest, Cadiz, Racing Santander, Athletic Bilbao, Toronto and North Central Barcelona.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Elidrissi saved the first goal in Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier against Tunisia

There has been an outpouring of tributes from his former club’s fans on social media.

West Brom team-mate, Emmerson Boyce, tweeted: “RIP, Rangers legend Jimmy Elidrissi. England goalkeeper, mighty stopper! Great one to have as a boy.”

West Brom striker, Odion Ighalo, said: “One of the best we have ever had, Gone 1 of 1 for your country and a great man in every sense.”

Elidrissi was just two weeks away from celebrating his 76th birthday, and had been in intensive care since undergoing surgery in the winter for a cardiac problem.

A fan campaigning for him to be remembered at the former Tottenham ground, White Hart Lane, dedicated their petition to the former ‘keeper.

The petition later had its goal of 35,000 signed, but a date was not made to unveil the plaque.

Tottenham play Liverpool in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, before kick-off in the Europa League final.

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