From corpse washer to street fighter, now Dolphins top keeper

By China Acheru

Dolphins’ FC shot stopper, Godwin Ayalogu looks back at his past and believes he has come a long way since his secondary school days.

He has played football as a goalkeeper for Ebonyi Angels, Rangers International, Sunshine Stars and now Dolphins FC.

However, the bulky goalkeeper says he began his life in the most bizarre of ways washing corpses in the morgue.

“My nicknames are Paco, Desperado, The Cat and these three names basically sum up my life up till this point as a footballer,” Ayalogu said.

A diener with respect

“Paco is about a dead person that came back to life. I was given that name when I washed bodies at the morgue because I needed money.

“They gave me that name because I never was scared of anything or anyone.

“I didn’t have a dime, my parents didn’t either so I used to do that job to pay my school fees and help my siblings.”

The graduate of Government Technical School said he would leave class, while in school to the morgue to wash bodies and explained how he started.

“There was a morgue close to the school and it was run by a Ghanaian. I used to sneak from school to go there.

“When the Ghanaian asked me what I wanted, I told him a job.

“He wanted to know if I could cut it there and I affirmed. I asked for gloves and the required chemicals and I washed four bodies on my first day at work.

“I don’t believe in fear. I had gone hunting in the forest at midnight and I never thought anyone should be afraid of anything.

“At that time I was paid ten naira per body and I did that job for four years.”

Ayalogu continued that after washing bodies at the morgue, he would go to the market to push carts/ trucks for people who did heavy buying.

“I would carry yams, lettuce and stuff. During the rainy season, I used to go to the river to help pull out boats that sank in the River Niger.

“I had to learn how to swim for this because pulling sunk boats out of the river and mud was a lucrative trade for me.”


Fighting on the streets

The second nickname given to Ayalogu was/is DESPERADO and he explains that he always it believed no one on earth could defeat him in a fight.

He said he fought on the streets and fighting pits for money.

“I was a street fighter too and I used to bet in my fights on how many minutes my opponents would last with me in the fighting pit.

“Around the streets, I would be invited to fight and defeat anyone who was king fighter of his area. This one fetched money for me because there was always lots of blood spilling and people wanted to see blood.

“At a time, people would call me to come and defeat the ‘strong man’ in their area.

“I did Taekwondo, karate and a little boxing so they helped me in my street fighting. It also helped in goalkeeping by the time I focused on football.

“That’s why as a keeper I am never scared of going into battle on the pitch whilst protecting my area.”

He says he was still a street fighter while he became an active goalkeeper.


The Cat

“The cat was one given to me at birth, according to what my dad told to me. He said since I was born, I never let my back touch the ground. I always used to retaliate at any wrong done to me. When I got into football, I started using that name,” he explained.

“I always retaliate any offence meted out to me. It may take years but I will seek my revenge.

“But after I moved from being an outfield player to being a goalkeeper, the name, Cat came up again, no one really knew the origin of the game,” Ayalogu said.

Life without football

It was tough for the goalkeeper to say what his life would have been like if he had not been a footballer.

“I really cannot tell what I would have been doing if not for football.

“Only God knows… maybe I would have been dead or maybe joined a bad group, cult or gang that would have been my undoing, but I thank God for football eventually.

“I lived a rough life and when I look back I can only be thankful that football has taken me this far.”

My wife and I

The Dolphins’ goalkeeper, Godwin Ayalogu sensationally revealed that a sacrifice made by his wife was what convinced him to get married to her.

Ayalogu reveals that after a game for Ebonyi Angels where he played his football, he went to visit a member of the club’s supporters group and there he met Ifeoma who was around.

“My wife was a friend of a member of the Ebonyi Angels Supporters club and I went to visit her and met my wife there.

“We were engaged in a careless chat and when I found out she was a student at the Ebonyi State University I asked her discipline and I had no idea what she said.

“She said she was studying Human Kinetics and I didn’t even know what that meant so I made a joke concerning the course she was studying in school. Remember I had no idea what it meant,” Ayalogu said.

“When she asked what I meant, I explained that Human Kinetics means nothing and that she would be better off in a course like Economics.”

Ayalogu revealed that being an uneducated person who was into football, he would have preferred to marry an economics graduate to help him manage whatever money he makes from his career.

“I told her that I would prefer an economics graduate to help me take care of my money since as a footballer and I would not want to misuse whatever money I make.

“To my greatest shock, she applied to change her program from Human Kinetics to Economics and lost one semester in the process.

“I was so touched by that action that I became convinced I shouldn’t let her go,” the burly goalkeeper said.


The joy of football

The Anambra born goalkeeper adds that he does not regret being a football player.

“Football gave me a wife, Ifeoma, four beautiful kids, Winner (the first), Bright (the second) and the twins, David and Daniel, and a house I built while I played for Rangers International. I am grateful.”

His first daughter is eleven years old and is now in the secondary school while he has three other boys.


Football and my kids

Many footballers do not want their kids to play football because of the suffering that goes with it, especially in Nigeria, but Ayalogu will not stop his.

“I would advise my kids to play football but not in Nigeria because there is a lot of suffering in our football.”

The goalkeeper cited poor remunerations and welfare as reasons why he would not support his kids playing football in Nigeria.

One thing he would however support his kids to do in Nigeria will be to go to school.

“I will push them to go to school and it will not even be about going all the way in school, as long as they can read and write I will be okay.

“My father did not leave anything for me but I want to leave something for my kids to build on and that is what I plan to do for them,” Ayalogu said.


Why our footballers suffer

“The way we are owed, by the time they pay us, we have already borrowed a lot and that is one reason why they suffer the way they do.”

He explained that at Rangers, he managed to make use of just his salary and bonuses so by the time signing on fees are paid he was able to use it judiciously.

“That’s why I was able to build a house. Remember I told you I wanted an economist by my side and I married one.

“The reason is that I wanted a wife that would help me manage whatever money I make as a footballer.”

He offered advise to his colleagues to spend what little they have and put the rest in a business that will be worth their while.

“They should focus on their future and not their now. This is the advise I give to them.”

So if you are an opposing player wondering why Ayalogu has total command of his area, diving in and charging at crosses, corner kicks and through balls, remember he is Paco, Desperado, The Cat and he fears no foe.



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