One of Nigeria’s respected referees Festus Okubule, 80, yesterday died in Lagos hospital after a brief illness.

Former FIFA-Badged Nigerian Referee Okubule Dies At 80

According to her daughter, Sola Taiwo, the foremost referee breathed his last breath at about 5:50 pm yesterday and he would be missed by his family and relations.

Okubule a.k.a Show Boy would forever remain a reference in the history of Nigerian football for more than four decades, he officiated several domestic matches, as well international matches across the length and breadth of Africa.

A former president of the Nigeria Referee’s Association, the late Okubule according to football statistician, Kunle Solaja, was the second Nigerian referee to officiate at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, 1986, after the pioneering effort of Sunny Woghiren at the 1974 edition which was also held in Egypt.

Okubule who was popularly called ‘Show Boy’ told The Nation in an interview just after his 79th birthday how he earned the nickname due to his extra details for a neat appearance.


He said: “As a referee, I was very neat and that is one of the reasons I was called Show Boy.

“I attended every match with two sets of shirts. I used a certain shirt for the first half while I changed to the second in the second half.

“Most times, I used to ask the referee team whether they came with two sets of shirts. I was always neatly dressed and that is where I got the nickname Show Boy; it was because of my neatness during matches.”

Amongst many other high-profile matches, the deceased refereed the Senegal 2-0 defeat of Mozambique at the 10 March 1986 Africa Cup of Nations duel at the Cairo International Stadium.

Okubule became a FIFA-badged referee in 1974 and almost a decade later was the first Nigerian referee at a FIFA tournament when he was picked for the FIFA Youth Championship (now FIFA U-20 World Cup) in Mexico.