He was in the first Nigerian team to qualify for the 1983 FIFA World Cup finals in the national under-20 male squad.
Agbonavbare had also played for defunct Rubber Board FC and New Nigeria Bank (NNB) FC, both of Benin City.
Expressing a deep grief of loss, over Wilfred Agbonavbare, The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) in a statement (recently) by its Assistant Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, said that, news of Agbonavbare’s death in Spain had been broken to it.
Agbonavbare, the former senior national team goalkeeper succumbed to an ailment which the NFA claimed did not get to its notice on time.
“This is very sad, coming only two days after the death of Coach Musa Abdullahi. The NFA became aware of Agbonavbare’s affliction only a couple of weeks ago, but it is evident that this is another true hero gone to rest too early,’’ the NFA’s acting Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, said in the statement.
He also said that Agbonavbare was a patriot of the first grade and his contributions to Nigerian football on-field would never be forgotten.
Agbonavbare was a member of the Super Eagles’ squad which won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Tunisia 1994: he made the final squad to Nigeria’s debut appearance at the 1994 World Cup finals in the U.S. as one of the three goalkeepers, alongside Peter Rufai and Alloy Agu.
At the finals in Mexico, the team defeated the then USSR, lost 0-3 to Brazil and drew 0-0 with Netherland, before crashing out at the group stage.
He had represented the senior team at the 1984, 1988 and 1990 AFCON finals, winning silver in all the years, before winning gold in Tunisia 1994.
Agbonavbare also played for a Spanish club, Rayo Vallecano, before he finally settled down in the European country.
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