It is no longer news that former Green Eagles skipper and ace defender, Christian Chukwu, has been ill. He is also a former Rangers International Captain who had a very robust football career playing for the then Green Eagles and the Flying Antelopes of Enugu. No doubt, Chukwu’s stint as a footballer is still enviable given the fact that he had resigned from active football.
He became “Chairman” of defense in the early 70’s through the 80’s when popular Radio commentator, Ernest Okonkwo, of blessed memory, nicknamed Christian Chukwu “Chairman” because of his marshalling artistry at the defense line for the Eagles. The ace central defender with popular Jersey No. 5 is also immovable at the backline like the rock of Gibraltar. His height is intimidating and his general physique is intimidating to every opposing defender on the pitch.
Chukwu was among the glorious 1980 Nations cup Eagles that won that years confederation of African football championship (CAF) held in Lagos, Nigeria. In fact it was a glorious day for Nigeria`s football, winning the unity cup for the first time with Chukwu as skipper for Nigeria. This was also under the government of Late Alhaji Shehu Shagari of blessed memory! Therefore, Chukwu cannot be easily forgotten either in sickness or in health!
The former Harambee stars of Kenya’s coach career cannot be completed if it is not mentioned that the Enugu born football tactician had coached an African country’s national team, the Super Eagles. He also coached Enugu Rangers FC where he also played clubside football amongst others.
He is a complete gentleman off and on the pitch. He never gave his coach, Father Tiko and Otto Gloria, any headache while plying his trade with the national team, and he is a friend of all the then players of the Eagles. His relationship with the likes of Late Aloysius Atuegbu and Okey Isima etal cannot be over exaggerated. In all, he was a perfect player and a cool-headed captain filled with humility and liked by all including Nigerians across board as a fantastic defender!
Today, the man, the skipper, the coach is sick. And my prayer for this illustrious son of Nigeria should not die but live to still serve as a role model for today`s generation of players and coaches. Chukwu who is currently a board member of Enugu Rangers Football club doubles as an employee of Enugu state Sports Council. So far, so good, “chairman” as he is popularly called, is being attended to by the Enugu State Government, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and some other good spirited Nigerians.
My earnest prayer again is that may the Almighty God heal Christian Chukwu for him to enjoy the fruit of his labour. Indeed Chukwu is a national hero!
Good Morning Nigeria!