Junior Agogo, former Hibs and Ghana striker, dies at 40

Former Hibs and Ghana striker Junior Agogo has died in London at the age of 40.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 12:57 pm
Junior Agogo pictured at Easter Road during his spell with Hibs

Friend and former international team-mate Asamoah Gyan posted an image of Agogo on his Instagram account with the caption: "Thanks for the memories Junior. RIP bro."

The Accra-born footballer, who had spells in England, the USA, Egypt and Cyprus as well as Scotland, announced his retirement from the game after his spell with Hibs during the 2011/12 season.

Agogo began his career with Sheffield Wednesday, but played just a handful of games for the Owls as he was sent on loan to Oldham, Chester City, Chesterfield and Lincoln City.

He had a brief spell in the USA, featuring for MLS sides Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes in the early 2000s but returned to England with Queens Park Rangers and then Barnet in 2002.

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His performances for the Bees - 21 goals in 39 games - earned him a move to Bristol Rovers, where he scored 41 times. He was signed for Nottingham Forest by Colin Calderwood in 2006 and hit 20 goals in 64 games before being sold for £565,000 to Zamalek of Egypt. A year later he moved to Cyprus with Apollon Limassol before reuniting with Calderwood at Easter Road.

He played 14 games for Hibs after agreeing a one-year deal in July 2011, scoring once in a 3-3 draw with Dundee United. Agogo left the Capital club in January the following year.

Agogo scored 12 times for Ghana in 27 matches, and caught the eye during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nation in which the Black Stars finished third on home turf.

That same year, he had spoken of his plans to open a restaurant but instead started a fitness training business after hanging up his boots.

Agogo suffered a stroke in December 2014 at the age of 35, and spent two months in hospital.

Earlier this year, he said he was no longer able to write as a result of the stroke and in a BBC documentary broadcast in 2017, revealed that he had speech problems in the immediate aftermath.

In an interview as part of the programme, he said: "I'm anxious about language. I can find the words, but I'm anxious in case I get the word wrong.

"I want to be able to speak like everyone else. That's all."

He also claimed that no one got in touch with him in his later years, adding: "I used to talk with a couple of the boys that I was in the national team with but when the stroke happened, they all said 'No' because I couldn't speak."

Tributes poured in after news of Agogo's passing from former team-mates and clubs.

Former Hibs goalkeeper Graham Stack added: "Devastated at hearing the news of the passing of friend and ex-Hibs team mate Junior Agogo, Junior struggled with his health in recent years but doesn’t make it any easier. We shared some great memories on the pitch and even more of them off it."

Ex-Hibs defender and international team-mate Francis Dickoh wrote: "Absolutely heartbreaking news, my former Ghana international teammate Junior Agogo has passed! Way too early... May your beautiful soul Rest In Peace."

Nottingham Forest posted a message on their official Twitter account saying: "Rest in peace, Junior. Nottingham Forest are saddened to learn that former striker Junior Agogo has passed away. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Junior’s family and friends at this sad time."

A spokesperson for another of Agogo's former clubs, Sheffield Wednesday, said: "Sheffield Wednesday are saddened to learn of the passing of our former player Junior Agogo. Our thoughts are with Junior's family and friends at this very difficult time. RIP."