The much-talked about traditional wedding ceremony of former Flying Eagles assistant captain, Daniel Chima Uchechi took place Monday, December 19 in the imposing compound of his father-in-law at Nkwere, Imo State.
SportsDay editor, Sam O’Femi Olusetire was among the special guests that graced the grand occasion that set many tongues wagging in glee, and now presents this exclusive package…
Nkwere Agog For Ex-Flying Eagles Star
The serene countryside of Nkwere, Imo State was set alight on Monday, December 19, as the much-talked about traditional wedding ceremony of former Flying Eagles assistant captain, Daniel Chima Uchechi took place in the imposing compound of his father-in-law.
The ceremony, which was graced by friends of the couple from Greece, England and India, was made twice as glamorous by the presence of guests from Lagos who stormed the venue in a chartered 30-sitter bus.
They were all filled with glee, as ‘Dan Chim’ consummated traditional rites with his heartthrob, Obiageli Cynthia, who is from the family of Chief Sunny Mbaeri and Mrs Ngozi Mbaeri Obijutu (Esi Ada Special) of Umuyensu Village.
The groom’s parents, Elder Uchechi Orji and Mrs Victoria Uchechi from Ngwu Village, Uzoakoli, Abia State, were also in high gaiety for the ‘Igba Nkwu’ at Chief Mbaeri’s compound on the outskirts of Nkwere.
Though Uchechi, a product of Santana Boys Club of Ojo, Lagos and Surulere-based British Council-sponsored youth product, Community Action Through Sport (CATS) earlier had his nuptials in England, where he now plays for third-tier league side, Boreham Wood FC, he was compelled by his father-in-law to return home for the traditional rites.
This is because the bride’s father is an elder of Nkwereland and he impressed on Uchechi that all traditional aspects of the wedding should hold in order for the couple to be duly accepted by the clan and for the wife’s parents to be respected in the community.
In effect, the member of Nigeria’s youth squad coached by Samson Siasia at Egypt 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, who already has two children – Delali (aged three) and Natalia (a year old) – by his partner, accepted to formally pay dowry for his wife in her home land.
The 27-year-old Uchechi, who has previously played for the youth teams of Charlton Athletic, Fulham and Middlesbrough, before edging out ex-Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni to seal the deal at Boreham, finally cemented his marital vows in Nkwere.
Sources close to the attacker-cum-winger, who also starred for National Grassroots Dream Team on a tour of his mother’s country, Togo, before travelling to England on the cards of CATS in 2008, disclosed that the petit lad willingly cleaned out his bank account in England to fund the wedding.
No musings, though, as he gleefully cemented ties with his childhood friend and former school mate from back in their days at Ojo, Lagos, before they met up again with each other several years later in the UK.
Consequently, Mrs Uchechi was also excited to finally hook her hubby, who on November 26, 2012 joined AFC United of Sweden in a two-year deal then signed with another Swedish club, Dalkurd, in April 2014.
Following a spell with BSV Hürtürkel in the German fifth tier, Uchechi joined Boreham Wood for the 2016-17 season and lined out for their last game of 2016 against Eastleigh on December 27th.
Togo Connection Comes Alive
Another major talking point from Chuma Uchechi’s wedding was the presence of several guests from his mother’s country, Togo, as they made good use of the opportunity of a 30-seater bus hired by the groom to storm Nkwere for the matrimony.
The groom’s mother had actually gone ahead with a couple of her preferred Togo kith and kin, who were specialists in culinary matters, and ended up taking over full responsibility of cooking two days before the occasion and on the eve of the big day as well.
Dramatically, the Uchechis boast of six sons and not a single daughter, but the bus from Lagos had two female teenagers of Togo descent, who spoke more of Yoruba than their native tongues, as they joined the other members of the delegation representing the groom’s motherland.
Also on the bus were three of Chima’s siblings – Samuel, Paul and Chibuzor, while the other two, Emeka and Ezeh, had gone along with their mother in the advance delegation.
Incidentally, the third born of the family, Samuel Uchechi is based in Togo and used any opportunity that came his way to flaunt his origins, while even going ahead to declare that he is not a Nigerian.
His words soon elucidated comments about Chima Uchechi’s dual nationality, Someone snickered in the background that he should start thinking real about switching allegiance from Nigeria to Togo in order to revive his national team career that failed to accelerate after lining out as assistant captain of the Flying Eagles at Egypt 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“I am sure Togo will be eager to have Chima play for their national team,” said one of the guests, who preferred anonymity.
“I remember how they got Emmanuel Adebayor to play for their senior team and he even became African Player of The Year, after he was rejected by Nigeria’s under-17 team, Golden Eaglets some years earlier.”
As if to justify his eligibility for a national team career with The Hawks of Togo, Chima Uchechi had thoughtfully given his first child, a boy, a Togolese name, Delali, which he says the boy insists on being called instead of his English name.
“We actually gave him two English names and two Igbo names,” Uchechi told SportsDay on the sidelines of the wedding, “but he prefers being called Delali; in fact, he gets angry if his classmates call him his English name.”
Groom Gives Gallons Of Gratitude
Barely 24 hours after he consummated his matrimony with his heartthrob, Chima Daniel Uchechi spent some moments with members of the delegation from Lagos to express his high level of gratitude over their ability to attend the ceremony in Nkwere, Imo State.
The Boreham Wood FC of England star took hold of a stopover at his father-in-law’s house by the bus conveying the delegation back to Lagos to reveal the high level of the delight over their presence at the occasion.
The 27-year-old attacker, who is known to be very shy, put aside all trepidation to step aboard the bus in the early hours of the day after the wedding to state categorically how impressed he was that almost 30 people made the trip from Lagos.
The delegation, which was led by Chima’s father, included Nigerian Grassroots Football Federation (NGFF) secretary-general, Oscar Ezinwa Emmanuel, four representatives of the Togo community, SportsDay editor, Sam O’Femi Olusetire, three of the groom’s younger brothers as well as two of his youth days’ teammates, Chidi Birchman Chukwuka and Riliwan Salami.
Incidentally, one of Chima’s brother’s, Samuel Uchechi actually grew up in their mother’s country, Togo, where he says his allegiance lies most, not with Nigeria, while the groom himself revealed that his fist child has a Togolese name, Delali.
Uchechi also said he was thrilled to see the array of personalities that braved the odds of December time inter-state trips to be physically present at the traditional nuptials and prayed for their safe trip back to The Centre of Excellence.
“I am most delighted with your presence at my wedding,” the former Fulham, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City whiz kid declared.
“On behalf of my wife, I say thank you all for making this trip and for being present at our wedding. It gives me joy that I am able to see among you people I grew up with in Lagos and some of the football people who helped me to develop my career.
“I am equally amazed that some people from my mother’s country were also able to travel on this bus to honour me. I am totally delighted. I pray you will all have a safe journey back to Lagos and meet your families in good health back there.”
How It All Began…
-Dad Reveals Romantic Details
The wedding of Chima Daniel Uchechi with his long time lover, Cynthia Obiageli is one laced with a chain of coincidences and dramatic sequences that would make a perfect script for a romance movie or novel.
This much was revealed by the groom’s father, who took time out during a moment of respite at Erico Hotel, on the outskirts of Nkwere, Imo State to intimate SportsDay with details of how it all began.
Pa Uchechi said everything about his first son has always been dramatic and reckoned that the hand of God continues to play a key role and important part in shaping about the star’s life and football career.
The father of six sons, who is a retired inter-state professional driver, stated at length: “It has always been a story of coincidences and miracles in Chima’s life.
“From the beginning it had been so and it still continues that way for him up till now; which shows that God is the one that is planning everything for him, especially with regards to this wedding.
“For instance; I did not know back then that Chima would eventually marry this girl, when I took them both to Jos for the Air Force Command School examination.
“Chima was just 11 years old at that time, and the girl was even younger than him, but her mother trusted me to take her along with my son, because we were neighbours at that time.
“That’s how I took them hand-in-hand to Jos and back; but I did not know that I was laying the ground for what would go on to eventually become a happy married life between them.
“In fact, I could not imagine that they would get so close again because they eventually did not get the admission we hoped for, which was a very sad thing for me personally, after all my efforts and expenses.
“Actually, my son got the best mark in the examination and should have been automatic in gaining the admission, but the people in charge of admissions in the air force base at Ikeja did some funny things at that time and they denied my son the opportunity he deserved.
“I don’t want to go into the details; but the truth is that they wanted me to pay something before they would approve the admission for Chima, but I could not afford what they wanted; that’s how he missed out of what he truly deserved.
“Fortunately, it was soon after that time that he was invited to CATS, and he then started concentrating on football. That was the opportunity he had to forget the disappointment of missing the air force school admission and face a new life.
“Even at that time too, there was a coincidence, because he first played under Coach Emma at a different club but soon he joined Coach Iyke’s club, Santana Boys at Volks Pitch, Ojo.
“It so happened that it was from Santana Boys that he was invited to CATS, which was sponsored by the British people and from there they took him to London and he eventually settled down to start playing football in England.
“However, it has not been all that smooth for him; which many people do not know. In fact, I want to use this opportunity to appeal to many people who think that Chima has neglected them or failed to show appreciation to please understand that life has not been very smooth for him.
“It’s true that he is playing professional football in England, and has played in many different clubs already. He got married in England and already has two children, a three-year-old boy named Delali and a year-old girl named Natalia.
“All these a good achievements; but I must confess that life has not been too smooth for him; especially as he could not start playing actively early enough and faced some spiritual challenges.
“I must not go into details about that setback, but the truth is that the agent who first worked with Chima caused so many problems for my son, simply because he wanted to adopt him and I refused.
“At a point, the agent wanted to change Chima’s surname and was even already operating with him in that way until I took the matter to Deb Ball, who was then the British woman in charge of CATS at that time.
“She was the one who helped me solve the matter and get my son back, but the agent was not happy about it and that was how my son’s problems began.
“It was so bad that he started getting mysterious injuries anytime he signed a big contract and he then started moving from one club to another, without achieving anything.
“Even his career in the Nigerian national team did not produce anything concrete for him. Remember he was even captain of the under-20 team, but he could not achieve anything big from it; as one setback or the other continued following him.
“All the same, I give thanks to God, because my son is a strong boy and he never gives up. God has helped him to overcome the storm and I believe this wedding is a sign of better things to come.
“They already had their white wedding in England, but we told them they had to do it the traditional way in Nigeria, which is why they came home for this ceremony.
“I am happy that they agreed to come home for the traditional wedding and I am happy that God has used it is a chance for me to meet many people who I have not seen for a long time, especially those who contributed in masking Chima a success.
“I am thankful to Oscar and CATS as well as Grassroots and all the coaches who trained my boy. He is now a man, since he is married and has kids, which means he achieved something outside football as well.
“At the same time, I am happy that he now has a new club in England and I believe this wedding will help him to go back there and do even better to revive his career and make some money, with his wife supporting him at home; of course.”
Chima, Cynthia Made In Heaven – Oscar
Secretary-general of Nigerian Grassroots Football Federation (NGFF), Pastor Oscar Ezinwa Emmanuel has reflected on the December 19th traditional wedding of Chima Daniel Uchechi with his heartthrob, Cynthia Obiageli, and acknowledged that the couple had been destined by God to be husband and wife.
Emmanuel, fondly called ‘TM’ by youth footballers he has been privileged to groom over the years, was project manager of British Council-sponsored venture, Community Action Through Sport (CATS), which took Uchechi to England in 2002.
He was p[art of the delegation that travelled from Lagos to Nkwere, Imo State for the player’s nuptials in a chartered 30-seater bus that he personally arranged for the occasion.
Speaking to SportsDay about his impressions of the matrimony, ‘Mr Oscar’ said Chima and Cynthia had been destined to be couples, considering that they first met as kids in Lagos and got together again in London after several years apart.
“This is the kind of story I love to hear about,” said the astute youth developer, promoter, organiser, coach and manager, who is now founder/president of Pison Divine Royals International.
“The fact that they were friends when they were kids, then met again in a foreign land several years later means God was in charge of their union.
“That divine intervention is what has led us to this point today, which means this marriage is made in heaven and nothing can come against it. I am sure they are the perfect couple and God’s hand will continue to be with them.
“Since their wedding has been programme with a divine touch and connection, we can only expect great things to come for them from God Almighty.”