Football‎ > ‎

Fabian Duru - Prescot Cables' other Nigerian

posted 31 Oct 2018, 08:06 by Roy McDonald   [ updated 14 Nov 2018, 05:13 ]
This piece follows an article published earlier in the season about a Nigerian international footballer, who played for Prescot Cables. It was printed in the programme for the Hyde United game on 30th October 2018.

Like many Nigerians during the time of civil unrest in their home country, Fabian Duru was sent to England to further his education and enrolled at Liverpool University. However, alongside his studies, Duru was keen to maintain his football and in 1961, he was signed on a part-time basis by New Brighton. He made his first team debut for the Rakers in January 1962 and, although nominally a left half, he was played mostly as a left winger at New Brighton.

Fabian Duru spent the season playing on the Wirral and had a trial at Southport, before he made the switch to Prescot Cables, at the start of the 1962/63 season. He had already established a place in the Cables’ starting line up, playing two games, before the arrival of Elkanah Onyeali in September 1962. "Al" Onyeali had begun the season at Newport County, although he had been training at Prescot, but had found the travelling to South Wales too much.

The pair quickly formed a formidable, and productive, left wing partnership, with Onyeali at inside left, with Duru outside him. Onyeali scored two goals on his debut, and bagged eight goals in his first five games, with Duru also contributing a couple of points and several assists.

Unfortunately, Duru suffered a serious leg injury which kept him out of the team between October 1962 and February 1963 (although not many games were played during that snowy winter), only to suffer a further injury in his comeback game at Chorley, which kept him out almost to the end of the season.

Onyeali finished the season as the club’s leading scorer, and he and Duru were two of only six first teamers named on the retained list at the end of the 1962/63 season. However, it does appear that Duru left the club at the end of the season and returned to Nigeria.

There was further disappointment amongst the Tigers’ faithful when Onyeali also left the Cables in October 1963 to take up an appointment in London before returning to his native country. In his second season he had scored eight goals in six matches before his departure.

Reports in the Liverpool Echo and the Wallasey News when he was signed by New Brighton, both state that Duru had played for, and captained, the Nigerian National side. (Several contemporary newspaper reports spell his name as variations of Fabian/Fibian Duru/Durru/Douru).

There was, indeed, a player called Fabian Duru, who was named in the Nigerian 1960 Olympic qualifying squad, and played in 1960 in World Cup qualifiers against Ghana and in April 1961 for Nigeria against Ghana (again) in the Africa Cup of Nations, although he played mainly at Centre Half.

Unfortunately, biographical details for Fabian Duru are limited, and thus far, I have been unable to verify that this is, indeed, the same player who journeyed to England.

However, the paths of Duru and Onyeali are very similar, featuring international football in Nigeria to studying on Merseyside and both playing football for New Brighton and Prescot Cables. Bert Taylor, writing as “Bon” in the Prescot Reporter, at the time, noted that Onyeali was anxious to join his friend Duru at Prescot.

It does, therefore, seem highly probable that the two Nigerians playing for Prescot Cables in 1962 and 1963 were both International footballers.