Former Nigeria Captain, ‘Chairman’ Christian Chukwu is going through one of his worst spells since he quit active football in 1981.
The 1980 African Nations Cup winning captain has been bedridden by an undisclosed ailment, which has limited his ability to move by himself. He needs help, up to the tune of $50,000, quickly.
Already, some of his associates have started raising funds for the former Super Eagles’ coach through the ‘GoFund Me’ platform, but the money has been trickling in slowly.
Speaking on the race to save Christian Chukwu’s life, patron of Ex- Enugu Rangers Players Association, Benson Ejindu said it would be unfortunate if Nigeria lost its former captain because it could not provide $50,000 for his treatment.
“Former players like Kenneth Ilodigwe, Christian Madu, Kelechi Emeteole and others, would have lived longer if they received help on time.
He said the $50,000 would cater for Chukwu’s treatment, round trip flight from Nigeria to the U.S. and general after-surgery care.
Yesterday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) weighed in on the matter, promising to provide support for former Nigeria captain and coach to overcome his current health challenges and get back on his feet soonest.
NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is in the United Kingdom, according to thenff.com, has mandated the Chairman of Enugu State Football Association and member of the NFF Executive Committee, Chidi Ofo Okenwa to visit with the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations–winning team captain and get the details of his challenges and what needs to be done to return him to good health.
“I am not in Nigeria currently but I have asked the NFF Acting President, Seyi Akinwunmi to take full charge and ensure that this matter is treated promptly. It was for this kind of development that I spoke about the welfare foundation for our legends at the Second AITEO-NFF Awards in Lagos on April 1.
Chukwu captained the senior national team of Nigeria as they won their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, receiving the brand new Unity Cup from then President Shehu Shagari. He also captained the Enugu Rangers FC team that won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.
Nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for the authority he exuded as he marshalled the defence and launched onslaughts on the opposition defence for club and country, Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria – the Golden Eaglets that triumphed at the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.
He was also assistant coach of the team widely known as the Golden Generation – the 1994 Class of Super Eagles that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations title and reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in America.
Between 2002 and 2005, Chukwu was head coach of the Super Eagles, leading the team to win bronze medal at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.