Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Who Was Tesi Balogun?

Walking by the Players' Entrance on South Africa Road this evening, I had a closer look at the design of the glass wall. It's the place where fans leave tributes to dead players, e.g., Alan McDonald & Kiyan Prince, and I've never looked at it closely before. The names of stars from QPR history are etched on the glass. As I read them, and remembered, I saw this name:  Tesi Balogun. I am quite proud of my knowledge of QPR history, and was feeling good that I knew about Evelyn Lintott, but this name was new to me. Another humbling moment :-)

Nobody I asked outside the stadium before the game had heard of him either. I was inside and heading for my seat before I thought of googling him, and there's no ****** reception inside the stadium. However, a chap in the row behind who first of all remembered as a child seeing Arthur Longbottom score from the halfway line then said, "O yes, I remember him. He always used to turn up with a bible in his hand, and leave with a girl in each arm!"

Now I am home and with the benefit of broadband have googled him:

From a site called Yoruba Nation, I quote:

"It is told in Nigeria folk lore that in a football match played in the 1960s, NEPA FC, Lagos needed a goal to win the Challenge Cup, and with time running out a fan shouted at Teslim Balogun - 'do not forget your left' and the rest as they say is history. The ball went through the midriffs of the goalkeeper and through the net and the moniker 'Thunder' was born. The nickname stuck with him because of his skills and lethal shots at goal."

It also says:

"He was one of the first Nigerian players to take his trade abroad. Teslim played professional football in England at Peterborough United, Holbeach United and Queens Park Rangers and was the Nigerian coach that led the national team to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. He also played for the national team for 17 years (1945-1962). After his playing career in 1962 (sic), he coached until he died on July 30, 1972."

There's a wikipedia entry for him here. I look forward to hearing what my friend Martin would like to add to this note.

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