Past Nigerian Football Stars: Taribo West
Taribo West was a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a defender for both club and country. He was born on the 26th Day of March in the year 1978 at Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He is best remembered for his various unusually weird and colourful hairstyles.
He eventually became a pastor
He was previously married and has a daughter who is one of the fast-rising actresses in the industry.
West was discovered by Monday Sinclair, who recruited him to play for Sharks. He started playing professionally with Obanta United in 1989, before returning to Sharks in 1990. West then played for Enugu Rangers in 1991, before joining Julius Berger in 1992 like most of the previous Nigerian stars.
Following successful trials in early 1993, West joined French side Auxerre led by Guy Roux. West eventually played his first competitive game for the club in a 0–0 away league draw at Toulouse on 5 March 1994. He became a first-team regular in the following season, making 31 appearances in all competitions.
In the 1995–96 season, West helped Auxerre win their first league title in the club’s history, alongside such players as Laurent Blanc and Sabri Lamouchi, among others. They also won the national cup, thus collecting the double. West subsequently made seven appearances in the 1996–97 UEFA Champions League, as the club was eliminated in the quarter-finals by the eventual champions Borussia Dortmund.
Internazionale and Milan
June 1997, West was transferred to Italian side Internazionale, on a four-year deal. He made his competitive debut for the club in a 1–0 Coppa Italia victory over Foggia on 3 September 1997. Subsequently, West scored his first goal for Internazionale in a 2–1 Serie A win against Atalanta on 9 November 1997. He also scored the extra time winning goal against Schalke 04 in the 1997–98 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Eventually, Internazionale won the competition led by Ronaldo and Iván Zamorano, with West being sent off in the final against Lazio. In the next season, West made 21 league appearances, as the club missed securing a spot in UEFA competitions. He failed to make an appearance in the 1999–2000 season, being three times an unused substitute.
During the 2000 winter transfer window, West switched to Internazionale’s crosstown rivals Milan. He made his debut for the club on 24 March 2000, coming on as an injury time substitute for Andriy Shevchenko in 2–0 win over Juventus. On 14 May 2000, West managed to score his only goal for Milan in a 4–0 victory over Udinese.
England and Germany
In November 2000, West moved to English club Derby County, on an initial three-month loan. He made his debut for the Rams on 18 November 2000, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 home league win over Bradford City. In January 2001, West signed an extension to stay with the Derbyshire side until the end of the 2000–01 season. He helped the team avoid relegation, making 18 appearances, as Derby won 31 out of their 42 total points with him in the lineup.
In November 2001, West joined German club 1. FC Kaiserslautern on a free transfer. He made his debut for the team in a 5–1 home league win over St. Pauli on 17 November 2001, starting the match and earning a yellow card in the process, before being substituted in the 81st minute. In April 2002, West was released by the club due to their “total disagreement”.
On 24 January 2003, it was announced that West will join the reigning FR Yugoslavia champions, Partizan. He arrived in Belgrade for the final negotiations with the club five days later. On 30 January 2003, West signed an 18-month contract with Partizan. He made his official debut for the club on 1 March 2003, playing the full 90 minutes in a 4–2 home league victory over Radnički Obrenovac.
West scored his first goal for Partizan in a 4–0 home league win over Vojvodina on 7 May 2003. Under Lothar Matthäus, the club convincingly won the 2002–03 First League of Serbia and Montenegro. Afterwards, West was one of the most influential players on the way to helping Partizan reach the group stage of the 2003–04 UEFA Champions League, eliminating Newcastle United on penalties in the third qualifying round. He managed to record three appearances in Group F, despite missing numerous games in the first half of the 2003–04 season due to injuries. In February 2004, West left the club by mutual consent.
In August 2004, West signed a one-year contract with Qatari club Al-Arabi. He scored his only goal for the side in a 1–1 league draw away at Al-Wakrah on 4 November 2004. West subsequently returned to England, penning a one-year deal with Plymouth Argyle in July 2005. He made his debut for the club on 27 August 2005, picking up a yellow card in a 0–1 loss to Hull City. West appeared in only five games for Plymouth, before his contract was terminated in October 2005.
In January 2007, West was close to signing with Croatian club Rijeka, but failed his medical. He eventually moved to Iran and signed a one-year contract with Paykan in August 2007. West failed to make a start with the club, having his contract terminated by mutual consent only three months later.
West was a member of the Flying Eagles at the 1993 African Youth Championship. He then went on to earn 42 full international caps for Nigeria, making his debut in a 1–3 loss to Sweden on 5 May 1994. West was also a member of the Olympic squad that won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He played every single minute of the tournament. Two years later, West was named in the 22-man squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, together with Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, and others. They reached the second stage of the tournament, being eliminated by Denmark in the round of 16.
In the 2000 African Cup of Nations, West played the full 90 minutes in all of Nigeria’s games in the competition, as they finished runners-up to Cameroon. He also represented his country in the tournament’s 2002 edition, finishing in third place. Additionally, West was a member of the team at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He made two appearances in the “Group of Death“, as Nigeria finished bottom of the table, behind Sweden, England and Argentina. After the tournament, Nigeria coach Festus Onigbinde blamed West for the team’s failure, stating that the player “flouted’ his instructions.
In January 2004, West suffered an injury during the team’s training session that ruled him out of the African Cup of Nations. He returned to the national team on 17 August 2005, making his final appearance for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Libya.
His Honours include: