LB presents the Full Story of a Football Legend best known by the nickname; “Pastor”. Our Taribo West Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts brings you a full account of notable events from his childhood times till date.
It’s about his gang life story before fame, family life, ritual story, how he became a pastor and many OFF and ON-Pitch little-known facts about him.
Yes, everyone remembers him for his colourful hairstyles and voracious tackles. However, only a hand few fans know much about Taribo West’s Bio which is quite interesting. Now without further adieu, let’s Begin.
Taribo West Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
Taribo West was born on the 26th day of March 1974 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Like so many young Nigerians would move to Lagos as a teenager, so did West. When he got to Lagos, West tried to hold down a series of dead-end jobs in the Shomolu district. This is a dangerous, gang-ridden slum that West compares to the Bronx, New York City. In his words…
‘The local gang were known as the Area Boys. You were either with them or against them, and I thought it would be better to have them as friends than as enemies. Break-ins, fighting, drugs and muggings were the order of the day. We would spontaneously mug people on the street.’
West while in Lagos got by on the proceeds of crime as he was a cultist. He also bolstered his popularity by playing street football. And then… One day, as he and his best friend returned through the streets with a bag of stolen money, they were approached by a member of a rival gang, who demanded the cash.
After fighting this rival gang over monies. West’s friend refused to hand over the money bag. He got stabbed and bled to death on the street with his friend West powerless to help him.
Taribo West fled with the monies and returned to his mother in Port Harcourt. After seeing the ugly side of gangsterism, he decided to devote full energies to football.
Taribo West Biography – Rising to Fame:
At Port Harcourt, West started out with Obanta United. After pleasing the fans in local tournaments West was later discovered by Monday Sinclair a scout who recruited him to play for Sharks football club.
He further went on to play professionally with Obanta United in 1989, before returning to Sharks in 1990. From Sharks, he went on to play for Enugu Rangers in 1991, before joining Julius Berger in 1992 as seen in the pic below.
Following successful trials in early 1993, West joined French side Auxerre led by Guy Roux. Three years later, he became a member of the Olympic squad that won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
West played every single minute of the tournament. His brightly coloured braids became a trademark for the no-nonsense defender. It was a hair you could see from the other side of the pitch.
As his hair did wonders, so did his tough tackling and barnstorming surges especially when he played for his home country.
West became a UEFA Cup winner as he led the Nerazzurri defence line to win the trophy which he claimed came through rituals he performed with witch doctors in Nigeria.
After success in Italy, West decided to spend a season at Derby County, helping to keep them in the Premier League, then Kaiserslautern in Germany. Taribo had a career that took him all around the world, even Iran, with several stops in Europe along the way. The rest, as they say, is now history.
Adenuke and Taribo West Love Story:
Behind every Nigerian player of the 1996 Olympics, there’s was a great woman or girlfriend, or so the saying goes. For Taribo West, there was a glamorous banker girlfriend by the name- Adenuke who later turned his wife.
Their wedding ceremony was undeniably one of the most glamorous at the time it was held. The planning and guest list distinguished it from a horde of other wedding ceremonies held in the same period. However, three weeks after they tied the nuptial knot, the couple got separated. It happened in the wake of allegations and counter-allegations of infidelity.
Three weeks into the marriage, the media was awash with claims by Atinuke of Taribo’s penchant for neglecting his matrimonial duties not limited to his wife’s battery. Taribo, on the other hand, described the marriage as a sham, plagued by suspicion, hatred and devoid of love.
He also accused Atinuke of infidelity and lack of commitment to marital vows. This came at a time Atinuke was once rumoured to be dating a popular banker when she was working at a popular bank while in Nigeria.
The difference between the two strange bedfellows became irreconcilable and they both headed for court for a divorce which came to pass. While Taribo is reportedly taking his pastoral work to the next level in Italy, Atinuke moved on into another relationship.
Taribo West Untold Biography – Using Charms and Babalawos:
West has once confessed to burning candles and holding magic stones which he obtained from Witch Doctors before games. He went further to say that most players and coaches usually do not own up to the act of using witch doctors.
When asked by Tana Ayejina, a sports correspondent for the Nigerian Punch newspaper if he was involved in the act while he was a footballer, he replied with a straight YES!. In his words…
“Of course yes, I don’t know why people decline to talk about their involvement with charms. Football has to do with a lot of powers. When there are big events, you look at the stadium, you see people, fans invoking all kinds of things; magicians are there, voodooists are there. In my playing days, when I was ignorant, I used to get some mallams and babalawos (traditional doctors) to make charms for us, which we took to (national) camp. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
In some clubs, before every game, the president or leader of the club will give you a lucky charm to play with. They will tell you to put it in your boots or socks and play. It’s their superstitious belief; that it can help them win matches.
There are some coaches who are connected to African magicians and soothsayers from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Zaire or even Nigeria. These people are consulted to give these coaches results of games even before the matches are played.
These people see strange things and they can tell you with their magic and charms, what the outcome of a match will be. People believe and use it. It works for those who believe in it. I saw it, I experienced it, I was with players that used it and I used it. So, why are people denying it? There are charms and rituals in football. It still exists.”
Taribo West Untold Biography Facts – How he got Converted:
When West’s sister named Patience who was an evangelist, paid a surprise visit to his new home in Milan. As West puts it;
‘I opened the door, and before I had the chance to say I was glad to see her, she said: ‘You must be strong to live in a house like this.’ She told me the house had a bad aura, and asked what kind of rituals I had been performing. Taribo West got angered by her statement and he said… “If she hadn’t been my sister I would have kicked her out.”
Like a lot of footballers, he was very superstitious. His sister who is a woman of God further told him that she could feel occult energies, and said she could see two dogs – one white and one black – fighting it out in his house. This was when the footballer in Taribo then adds. He was getting a bit impatient by her words and quickly told her that he had to be at training. Patience managed to stay until her brother returned from training. She began praying to God to convert her brother.
When West returned from training, his sister had more news. While he was out, she had slept and had a vivid dream of purity, telling Taribo West that God was calling him away from his evil way of life pointing out what she dreamt about him and further warning him of the consequences of his deeds.
‘I realised then that I needed God’s help,’ West’s conscience made him confess. He knelt down with his sister and both began prayers. As they prayed, all the drawers in the house began to open and shut spiritually. Taribo once recalled…
‘I thought it might be just the wind, but as that thought entered my head, all the doors began to bang as well. It was like something from a bad film, but I knew it was reality. I experienced a warm feeling inside.” This was when his sister turned to him and said: “Taribo, the Lord said you will be a pastor”.
This was when he got the nickname ‘Pastor’ as he told everyone to begin calling him that. His sister gave him tapes of a preacher based in London, Pastor Ayo Don-Dawodu, whose sermons confirmed West’s faith and persuaded him to establish his Shelter in the Storm ministry in Affori, a northern suburb of Milan.
Taribo West Pastoral Duties in Summary:
Since after the conversion by his sister, the former Nigerian international defender immediately started tackling the devil and wins possession back for Jesus in Italy.
It didn’t take long before Taribo West moved to Lagos Nigeria to establish a branch of his Milan based Shelter in The Storm Miracle Ministries of All Nations. Try as you might, you just can’t imagine Mario Balotelli following the same path in Ghana.
Even years after his retirement from football, Taribo continued gathering followers by organizing powerful crusades (pictured below) in Ajegunle, Nigerian’s most notorious town where his aim was to convert gangsters who currently lived his former way of life. Taribo was able to raise $2million to fund a permanent centre for those on the streets of Ajegunle.
Everyone knew he was very generous and outspoken to the crowd. Most times, instead of creating adverts for crusades, Taribo goes to the open for preaching as seen in the photo below.
Taribo West Untold Biography Facts – Painful Last Days:
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. In February 2008, West reportedly claimed to be joining Segunda División club Xerez, but the club’s president denied any knowledge of his arrival.
After retirement, West said…‘I will go to Milan and be a professional pastor,’ he says. ‘There’s no way I could be a coach. This is the end of football for me’ He laughs at the thought of it.
Taribo West Age Controversy:
In 2010, it was reported that West and other Nigerian internationals, such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Obafemi Martins, were at least seven years older than they claimed. In April 2013, Žarko Zečević, former general secretary of Partizan, said that West is 12 years older than his claimed age. Shortly afterwards, West denied the accusation.
Zarko Zecevic told Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti: “[West] joined us saying he was 28. We only later found out he was 40, but he was still playing well, so I don’t regret having him on the team.”
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