Renowned Former Lonestar Coach Jericho Nagbe Passes Away at 65
MONROVIA – Frank Wontee Nagbe, former Lonestar Coach and a revered figure in Liberian football, has passed away at the age of 65 after a battle with illness. Known to the public as Coach Jericho, he breathed his last at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital where he had been undergoing treatment.
The precise cause of Coach Jericho’s passing has not yet been established by K-News.
Jericho Nagbe’s football journey began as a player with the local team Saint Jerry from 1972 to 1975. He then joined the prominent club Invincible Eleven (IE) between 1975 and 1984, securing the League title in 1976 and receiving the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the same year.
His exceptional talent gained recognition beyond borders, leading him to Ivorian club Sporting Club De Gagnoa following the 1976 league season. In Côte d’Ivoire, Jericho clinched the league championship with Gagnoa in 1977.
Jericho Nagbe proudly represented Liberia on numerous occasions, dedicating eight years of service to the National Team as a consistent player. Notably, he played a pivotal role in the Lone Star team’s victory at the six-nation tournament in 1979.
D. Zoegar Wilson, a former teammate who currently holds the position of Minister of Youth and Sports, paid tribute to Jericho Nagbe on their shared Facebook page, stating, “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.”
Transitioning from a playing career to coaching, Jericho Nagbe took charge of second-division side La-Modell International in the West Point Township in 1985. Under his leadership, the club achieved promotion to the first division.
Nagbe’s coaching journey extended to NPA Anchors, and he steered his home county, Sinoe County, to victory in the County Meet tournament of 1986. Further achievements included a third-place finish in 1987 and reaching the semifinals in 2004.
His coaching prowess led him to assist coaching roles between 1989 and 1992 before he joined Junior Professional, a club founded and owned by the legendary footballer George Weah, now President of Liberia.
During his five-season tenure with the club from 1993 to 1998, he secured the runner-up spot in his debut season and clinched the league title in 1997. Despite challenges posed by the 1996 war in Monrovia, he managed Junior Pros in the African Cup Winners, notably eliminating Guinean side ASFAG.
Jericho’s legacy extended to the African Champions League with Jr. Pros, where they eliminated RCB of Burkina Faso, only to be thwarted by eventual finalists Obuasi Goldfields.
His subsequent appointment to Saint Anthony for the 1997-98 season saw him fulfill the club president’s mandate by securing second place in both the league and knockout championships.
Coach Jericho’s influence extended to the international arena, serving as deputy and head coach for the Lone Star on several occasions. His first stint as deputy started from 1996 to 1998 under head coach Wilfred Lardner. While under his first spell as head coach, Liberia reached the finals of the 2002 Nations Cup in Mali and coming close to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup the same year. In the previous year, Jericho led the Lone Star to victory in the Goodwill Tournament in Côte d’Ivoire. After the civil war, he returned to the national team as head coach from 2006 to 2008, and then in 2013.
Jericho Nagbe’s exceptional coaching prowess earned him the Coach of the Year accolade five times in 1985, 1987, 1996, 2000, and 2004.
In pursuit of continuous growth, he attended the FIFA Youth Training Program led 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.
Monrovia bids farewell to a football luminary whose impact will resonate throughout the Liberian football community for generations to come.