The goalkeeper who hit the limelight with the Flying Eagles on the road toMexico ’83 U20 World Cup, played for Rayo Vallecano at the prime of his professional career. He was at the Spanish club from 1990 to 1996 and earned the club record as the goalkeeper to have made most Primera Division appearances for Rayo at 76 times. The club thus decided to honour him for his remarkable achievement during his active days and also for his relationship with them until his death.
The club’s website, El Rayo Vallecano, reports that after the extraordinary meeting held on Wednesday by the board of directors, it was agreed that the Nigerian be so honoured.
The report read, “The Board of Directors of the Club has decided unanimously to keep alive the memory of Wilfred and therefore will call the Gate 1 Vallecas Stadium, Gate Wilfred Agbonavbare.”The club managers also thanked everyone who showed love towards Agbonavbare while he battled cancer on behalf of the late goalkeeper’s family. The directors said that they were touched by “the countless signs of affection that have been coming to club on a sad day for everyone.”
The former New Nigeria Bank of Benin goalkeeper was buried in Spain on Thursday with Rayo Vallecano president and other dignitaries in attendance. There were also active and retired Nigerian footballers who attended the event in Spain including Henry Makinwa who posted a photograph of Agbonavbare’s children with the Rayo Vallecano president during the ceremony. His children, Wilson and Wintia, we learnt arrived in Spain from Nigeria on Wednesdaymorning to witness their father’s burial.
His children returned to Nigeria at the height of his illness as their mother had died about three years ago from breast cancer.
Apart from starring for the Flying Eagles, Wilfred was also a member of the Nigeria team which won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia and also with USA ‘94 World Cup squad. He became the third member of that popular ’94 Eagles squad to pass away following the deaths of Thompson Oliha and Uche Okafor.Culled from punch