Just a few years ago, many Nigerians did not know who John Noble was. Those names John Noble could have well been Canadian, British or American.

However, in 2019 while playing for AS Kara in Togo, his side faced Enugu Rangers in the CAF Confederation Cup and he began to get the reckoning of Nigerians. He joined Pantel Sportive in Cameroon before signing for Enyimba.

From street boy to star boy

John Noble Barinyinma was a product of the 2010 Rivers State governor’s Cup where he played for Gokana Local Government Area team and then moved on to sign for local side, Gokana United soon after.

From Gokana United, he made the journey to West Africa where he joined AS KARA.

When his side, KARA came up against Enugu Rangers in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2019, he played both games as KARA won 2-1 in Togo and lost 1-0 in Enugu.

Standing at 1.83 meters, it was easy to notice his presence in the KARA defence as he frustrated the Rangers players in their bid to score in Enugu.

The word was out on the street. John Noble, the AS KARA goalkeeper was Nigerian (Ogoni to be precise).

From KARA he joined Pantel Sportive but at this time, Enyimba had taken notice, especially with the intending the departure of Stanley Nwabali to Wikki Tourists, and then Theophilus Afelokhai to Rivers United.

Claim to fame

At the time John Noble signed for Enyimba, he would have had to contend with Stanley Nwabali and Theophilus Afelokhai, but both players left the team.

The goalkeepers left at Enyimba were Olufemi Kayode and Sabirou Djeri Bassa, and with some stern competition, it took a while before Noble made his league debut in the 2-1 win against Kano Pillars in Aba in January.

The attributes Gernot Rohr has to look out for are his shot stopping skills, especially penalties, his size and subsequent aerial prowess and his ability to come out tops in one v one situations.

These qualities and most of all his confidence on and off the ball helped him sequester the number one shirt at Enyimba, the highlight of his season so far when his side came to Port Harcourt to knock out Rivers United from the CAF Confederation Cup, with he being a major player.

After playing in that 2-1 win over Kano Pillars, he played in the next thirteen games for the club before he joined the camp of the Super Eagles.

Henry Nna is an Aba based sports journalist and he describes John Noble in glowing terms.

“Like a half Moon that gradually becomes a full moon, John Noble rose from relative obscurity to a state of being celebrated.

“He has proven to be a safe hand for the People’s Elephants this season as he has been in goal for most of Enyimba’s games this season,” Nna said.

“What a way he announced himself in Port Harcourt, in front of the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr and he deservedly got an invitation to the national team.

“For a long time, his heroics for the People’s Elephants will not be forgotten in a hurry. If he continues in this form, he will be better positioned for better opportunities”

It is very unlikely that John Noble will play in any of the games against Benin and Lesotho, but Gernot Rohr and Nigeria can begin to look at him as a goalkeeper from the Nigeria Professional Football League that they can depend on if called into action.

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