Monrovia- Frank Wontee Nagbe, one of Liberia’s brilliant and charismatic coaches, has died at age 65 after battling with illness.
By Jaheim T. Tumu
Frank Nagbe, who is publicly known as Coach Jericho, died at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital last night where he was receiving treatment.
However, FrontPageAfrica has not been able to establish the cause of Coach Jericho’s death.
During his playing days, Jericho began a football career with local side Saint Jerry in 1972–1975 before joining darling club Invincible Eleven (IE) between 1975 to 1984 winning the League title in 1976 and being awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the same year.
Jericho’s talent was spotted following the completion of the league season in 1976 and Ivorian side, Sporting Club De Gagnoa captured his signature. In Côte d’Ivoire, Jericho won the league championship with Gagnoa in 1977.
He represented Liberia on countless occasions, giving eight years of his services to the National Team as a regular player. He was an integral part of the Lone Star team that won the six-nation tournament in 1979.
A former teammate, D. Zoegar Wilson who currently serves as Minister of Youth and Sports wrote a tribute on their Facebook page.
“Liberia has lost a Soccer Legend, Frank Jericho Nagbe, AKA Baba the Wizard. He passed away last night at the JFK Hospital. May his Soul and the Souls of all faithful departed rest in peace.”
Following his playing career, Jericho burst into the managerial position, coaching a second dividend-division side La-Modell International in the Township of West Point in 1985. Under his stewardship, the club gained promotion to the first division.
Jericho went on to coach NPA Anchors and led his native Sinoe County to the County Meet winning the tournament in 1986. He also collected the third medal in 1987 and reached the semi-finalist in 2004.
He joined as an assistant coach Coach between 1989 to 1992 before joining Junior Professional, a club established and owned by Legendary footballer, George Weah.
Jericho spent five seasons with the club. His stint was between 1993–1998 where he guided the club to promotion.
Junior Pros finished as runners-up in his first season before lifting the league title in 1997.
He managed the club in the African Cup Winners eliminating Guinean side ASFAG but could not honor the next round of the draw due to the April 6, 1996 war in Monrovia.
Jericho then led Jr. Pros to the African Champions League after the war subsided in Monrovia and eliminated RCB of Burkina Faso but were eliminated by eventual grand finalist Obuasi Goldfields.
He signed Saint Anthony in the 1997-98 season with a mandate from club president, the late Adolph Lawrence to qualify the club to the first division.
Jericho achieved his mandate in his debut season with Saint Anthony as he led the club to second place in both league and knockout championships.
Coach Jericho had two stints with the Lone Star as Deputy Coach. His first stint ran from 1996 to 1998. On the second occasion, Liberia reached the 2002 Nations Cup finals in Mali and nearly qualified for the FIFA World Cup the same year.
A year earlier, Jericho and the Lone Star won the Goodwill Tournament in Côte d’Ivoire.
Jericho was awarded five times as Coach of the Year in 1985, 1987, 1996, 2000, and 2004.
Jericho attended the FIFA Youth Training Program conducted by Karl Heinze Moroski of Germany and Mohammed El Wash of Egypt ((CAF) in 1985.
He also participated in the FIFA Futuro II course conducted by Phillip Rouon in 1999.