Son of Tranmere Rovers’ first black player visits Prenton Park

The son of Tranmere Rovers’ first black player, Obidinma Onyeali, visited Prenton Park from Nigeria in order to visit all the places his Dad, Elkanah Onyeali, played football.

During Black History Month in October 2022, Obidinma’s foundation, Elkanah Onyeali Care Foundation, teamed up with Tranmere Rovers to bring football to the world of Nigeria.

During his time at Tranmere, Onyeali netted nine goals in his 16 appearances for Rovers during the 1960s, before moving to Holywell and Prescot Cables.

From being the first black Tranmere player to helping the career of former Arsenal player Kanu, Elkanah’s soon Obidinma shared more with me.

“We had a partnership with Tranmere Rovers to come here in October last year during Black History Day so I’ve come to see and visit where my dad (Elkanah Onyeali) lived and played football, so this is why it brings me to Birkenhead.”

Elkanah Onyeali

Obidinma was full of praise for his Dad, as he describes his fine and historic career.

“He was a great player, he was the first black player to play for Tranmere Rovers, he was also the first black international to score four goals in an international match, he was also the first from Nigeria to be flown abroad to play for Tranmere, so he’s made an impact.

“He was the first, the first, the first for everything, and his shoes were too big!”

Elkanah Onyeali Care Foundation was set up to help young kids in the region of Nigeria develop as footballers and get a taste of the beautiful game.

Since then, it’s developed further, with a football academy set up with the message reading. “Enhancing social development through youth empowerment.”

As well as the football side, the foundation provides; helping widows and free access to healthcare.

“I set it up for a man who’s done a lot for this generation,” explains Obidinma.

“Ten years after his demise, we officially set up the foundation in his name, because my Dad was special, we set it up in his memory to enhance in youth development, to make sure his legacy, his dreams, his wishes doesn’t die.

“As of today, we have now the Elkanah Onyeali Football Academy, which is now been set up in Nigeria.”

With the foundation being set up to help the development of young children, Obidinma admits his dad was an advocate for youth football.

“He was an instrument of primary school sports, from there to secondary and this was the same with him when he came to study (The Tranmere Rovers College) in Birkenehead, so this gave him an idea that he wanted to discover hidden talents in young people as of today, we have this academy so these talents can be seen, we are like Tranmere Rovers, they’re doing very well!”

Obidinma was given a tour around Prenton Park on Friday before attending Rovers’ game against Newport County on Saturday.


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