Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Mielvin Amaju Pinnick has promised to ensure the soccer governing body lends the best support possible to former national team captain and coach, Christian ‘Chairman’ Chukwu, who is said to be in need of surgery overseas.
Early reports on the health challenges affecting Chukwu indicated that there is need of $50,000 for his trip, surgery, medication and care in the United States of America.
A patron of Chukwu’s former club, Rangers of Enugu, Benson Ezeomeogo Ejindu made this known in a Facebook post at the weekend, in which he sought to raise funds for the legend.
Chukwu captained the senior national team as they won their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, receiving the Unity Cup from then President Shehu Shagari.
He also captained the Enugu Rangers team that won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.
Nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for the authority he exuded as he marshaled the defence, Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the Golden Eaglets first team to win a FIFA trophy for Nigeria – that triumphed at the U16 World Cup in China in 1985.
He was also assistant coach of the 1994 Eagles that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup, won the Africa Cup of Nations and reached the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in America.
After a sting as head coach with Kenya’s Harambee Stars, Chukwu was head coach of the Eagles between 2002 and 2005, leading the team to win bronze medal at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.
Although Pinnick is currently outside the country, he sent a message of assurance through the NFF information department on Sunday that he has already given directives on how the soccer body will commence full scale efforts to assist Chukwu in his medical needs.
It was gathered that thew NFF supremo, who is also Confederation of African Football (CAF) first vice-president, is on his way to Cairo, Egypt for inspection of facilities for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, meeting of the organizing committee, of which he is president, and gathering of CAF executive committee, ahead of Friday’s draw ceremony.
Pinnick said from United Kingdom that he has mandated the chairman of Enugu State Football Association, Honorable Chidi Ofo Okenwa, who is also a member of the NFF’s executive committee, to pay Chukwu a visit.
He disclosed that Okenwa should check on Nigeria’s 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winning team captain and get details of his challenges, in order to ascertain what needs to be done to help him return to good health.
Pinnick added: “I am not in Nigeria presently but I have asked the NFF Acting President, Barrister 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 2nd AITEO-NFF Awards in Lagos on 1st April 2019.
“The NFF would always be there to lend support to our legends in their hour of need.”