- Mohammed Acha (Late)
Mohammed Acha (Late)
Late Mohammed Acha was born on 21st July 1974 to the family of Igoche & Late Achetu Acha and had 6 siblings; Edo, Mary, Gideon, Abo, Inalegwu Henry (Dre) and Inyamuwa Linda.
Mohammed started his education in Otukpo at St. Francis Primary School and Government Secondary School (GSS) before proceeding to Vincennes Junior College in Indiana and Costal Carolina University in South Carolina.
Like most kids growing up in Otukpo in the late 70’s and early 80’s, football was Mohammed’s first love but all this was to change when he was introduced to basketball in GSS. He took to basketball like a fish to water and in no time he became the toast of Otukpo sporting circles following his exploits in All Secondary School Games competitions and Inter-Schools friendly matches and before long he joined Outkpo based amateur basketball side, Salem Trotters. Despite his late introduction to basketball, Mohammed’s immense talent was evident for all to see and it was no surprise when he moved to the US to continue his studies and also develop his basketball skills.
The exploits of this Idoma icon soon drew the attention of national team coaches and he was invited to camp in preparation for the 1993 African Championship for Junior Men in Maputo Mozambique, which Nigeria eventually did not participate in but Mohammed would not wait long before donning the national colours.
In 1995, Mohammed made it to the senior national basketball team, D’Tigers and was to remain a key member of the national side until 2001. He was a member of the bronze medal winning basketball team at the 1999 edition of the All Africa Games in South Africa. He also represented Nigeria in the FIBA African Championships in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001. In the 1995 Championship, he was the tournament’s top scorer with 20 ppg.
At the 1998 FIBA World Championship in Athens Greece, though Nigeria was eliminated in the preliminary rounds, Mohammed still finished second in the Championship’s top scorers chart behind Alberto Herreros of Spain.
Mohammed, who stood at 6ft 7in, was a handsome, gentle and unassuming young man who strove for the best in all he did and therefore was able to accomplish so much in his basketball career.
While at Coastal Carolina, he broke the Coastal Carolina University single season block shot record in 1992 – 93 season with 51 block shots, a record that stood until the 2009 – 10 season. In August 1993, Mohammed was a member of the 10-man Big South Basketball (NCAA) All-Star team that went on tour to Russia and at the end of the tour he was voted the tournament’s MVP.
Mohammed was a Lebanese Basketball League Champion with Club Sagesse of Ashrafieh, Lebanon from 1998 to 2001. During his career with Club Sagesse, he was also an Arab Clubs Champion in 1998, Asian Basketball Club Champion in 1999 (where he was voted the Best Playmaker at the Championship) and Lebanese Basketball Cup winner in 2001.
Mohammed became the second and last Nigerian to participate in the McDonald’s Open when Club Sagesse took part in the last edition of the McDonald’s Championship in 1999. This was an international men’s basketball cup competition played between the champions of the continental club competitions and an NBA invited side between 1987 and 1999.
Before his death on 29th October 2002, Mohammed had an illustrious club basketball career which saw him play for Salem Trotters Otukpo, Benue Braves, Niger Potters, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (NCAA), Louisiana Crawdads (CBA), Palm Beach Stingrays (USBL), Canterbury Rams (New Zealand), Al-Ansar (Saudi Arabia) and Club Segesse (Lebanon).
Mohammed, who is listed on USBL All-Time Roster, was just a normal Idoma guy who enjoyed watching movies, playing video games and being around his friends and family. He was a great personality who was adored by fans and commanded the respect of his opponents. And in the words of Pius Ayinor
“There was a star in Nigeria and there was a Jordan in Lebanon. Both are gone, they died with Mohammed Acha. Basketball without Mohammed Acha? Yes but so painful to believe”.