The Sagoes: Three generations of Nigerian cricketers

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Peter Kweku Sagoe was born on 25th May 1904, it was the same day Nigeria played its first officially recorded cricket match with the then Gold Coast, now Ghana in Lagos.

Little did he know that he was going to begin a tradition that would lead to three generations of cricketers from his family representing Nigeria in the sport of Cricket.

Peter Kweku Sagoe (1904-1970)

One of his four sons, Alexander Kwamina and his two grandsons Michael Kwesi and Ayodele Kofi completed the loop, with the grandsons going a step further to represent West Africa.

Born in the Sagoe family house at 11 Ajele Street next to Campos Square in central Lagos – the neighbourhood where the progenitor of the cricketing Sagoes developed his sporting skills. A stone’s throw from there stood the Lagos Race Course, home to two cricket pitches at the time, now the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket grounds where both Lagos domestic club and Nigeria’s international matches featured.

Alexander Kwamina Sagoe (1926-2003)

By 1929, Peter had represented Nigeria against Gold Coast at both Cricket and Lawn Tennis going on to captain the National Cricket team in 1949 and 1950. He was bestowed with a National Sports Award in 1988 for his contributions to Nigerian Cricket, one of only a few number of cricketers thus far to be so honoured.

One of his four sons, Alexander Kwamina Sagoe took over the mantle of cricket, playing in the Lagos League with his club, Lagos Amateur Cricket Club (LACC) along with the likes of Ogie Alakija, Rex Akpofure, Namseh Eno, Jinmi Coker, Bimbo Sadare, Ehi Osemobor, Garen Siekpe and Ewa Henshaw among several others.

University of Lagos squad, gold medalists at WAUG (1981) Kwesi Sagoe is seated extreme right in pads, while Kofi Sagoe is standing, third from left

The rivalry between LACC and Dyaks Cricket Club featuring names like Abis Akerele, Rasheed Oyekan, Jide Bademosi, Chris Enahoro, Walter Jibunoh, Tony Egbe, Ayanti Udoma and John Gborjoh was talk of the town in the 1960s and early 70s.

Alex, as he was affectionately called by his friends, went on to represent Nigeria for many years as an ace wicket keeper/middle order batsman and was the second generation of Sagoes to do so after his father, Peter. After his playing days he served as Chairman of the Lagos State Cricket Association (LSCA).

Foundation Cricket Club, Lagos. Kwesi Sagoe is seated second from left, while Kofi Sagoe is standing, fourth from left

The two sons of Alex, Kwesi and Kofi were born to continue the Sagoe tradition in Nigerian Cricket. Born three years apart, they were destined to pursue different pathways before meeting at the university in their pursuit of their cricket pedigree. Whilst Kwesi, the elder brother honed his skills at King’s College, Lagos, younger brother Kofi took a detour to the family school for boys, Igbobi College, Yaba.

By the time, Kofi was admitted at King’s College in 1978 for his A Levels, elder brother, Kwesi had passed through with full colours in Cricket and continued his cricket pursuit at the University of Lagos. That same year 1978, Kwesi made his debut for the national team at the West Africa Cricket Conference (WACC) Quadrangular event in Freetown, Sierra Leone. That made him the third Sagoe in three generations to represent Nigeria at the game of gentlemen.

Foundation Cricket Club. Extreme right is Kofi Sagoe standing next to Kwesi Sagoe

Kofi finished at King’s College in time to meet Kwesi at the University of Lagos in 1981 where they both featured in the Unilag team that won the West Africa University Games (WAUG) beating the University of Ife (now OAU) in the final match avenging the defeat of the previous year at the Nigeria University Games(NUGA) in Benin, Edo State.

In 1985, Kwesi teamed up with Messrs Ako Amadi, Olayinka Fisher and Moye Adenuga(deceased) to establish Foundation Cricket Club(FCC) one of the most successful Nigerian cricket clubs based in Lagos. FCC marks its 35th anniversary this year, incidentally under the leadership of younger brother Kofi, as Coordinator of the club.

Kwesi Sagoe (right) walking off the pitch at TBS with Dipo Idowu after batting for Foundation Cricket Club

Kofi subsequently made his debut for the Nigerian team in 1986 at the WACC Quadrangular event that held at Achimota College, Accra, Ghana thus becoming the fourth Sagoe in three generations to represent Nigeria in Cricket!

Both Kwesi and Kofi went on to represent West Africa at the ICC Trophy tournament that held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1994. In 1997, both brothers, again were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the next edition of the ICC Trophy tournament – but while Kofi took part as an opening batsman, Kwesi was appointed as the Assistant Manager for the West African squad at the event.

Prior to the ICC Trophy tournament in Kenya in 1994, both brothers featured in the inspired Nigerian team that inflicted defeat upon a visiting MCC side at the Tafawa Balewa Square oval in Lagos on 19th January 1994. That is the only defeat MCC has suffered in West Africa till date. The MCC visit to West Africa had been scheduled to assist in the selection of the West African squad to the ICC Trophy event that held in February/March 1994.

In later years, the brothers assumed administrative responsibilities in the game after their playing careers with Kwesi becoming Vice Chairman of Lagos State Cricket Association (LSCA) under George Wiltshire from 2002 to 2006, a period he also served simultaneously as Chairman of the Club Cricket Committee (CCC) of Lagos. From 2006 to 2013, Kwesi served as President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), whilst from 2010 to 2012, he was elected Vice Chairman of Africa Cricket Association (ACA) and served as Chairman of the continental body from 2012 to 2018.

Kofi is the current Chairman of the Lagos State Cricket Association having assumed the position from 2014. He also currently serves as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Cricket Federation as well as Coordinator of FCC.

The interest of the Sagoes in cricket spans three generations and continues at administrative levels till date.

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