“From the beginning, I had three role models, all playing in the No. 5 Central position, Bobby Moore of England, Franz Beckenbauer, from Germany and Nigeria’s Christian Chukwu. But I had a Yugoslav Coach who asked me to pick up Jersey No. 4.
-See Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, in Edwin Eze, Emma Okocha, Rangers International Football club, History of a People Enugu 2017.
Recently, the Nigerian Football Federal toasted the Super Eagles class of ’99 and some of my younger colleagues of the SWAN went further to award that Assembly of super stars the diadem of Nigeria’s greatest eleven of all times. I disagree and am asking Alumona, Ochonogor of the Great Channels, my friend the GM of AIT who was a great sports broadcaster at Radio Nigeria when Ojeagbase, Complete Sports, Dr. Somanri, Obi, Anibueze Editor Vanguard, with Akwa Ibom FC President, Bassey, ruled the waves. Now we go down the lanes and do our research.
As the enduring Captain of Nigerian Super Eagles, Christian Chukwu led the greatest Nigerian football assembly. The 1977 immaculate Olympic squad; which included Segun Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Amiesimaka, golden boy Thompson Usiyen, Okala etc. That Olympic Squad destroyed a German side 10-0, walloped the Canadian national team, the host of the Olympics 4-0, Brazil, the next victim turned tail and refused to present a team to play the Eagles in their last trial matches before the 1977 Olympics. That most conditioned Super Eagles squad was destroyed by the Federal Government ill fated decision to pull out from that Olympics in protest against South Africa’s Apartheid policies.
In comparison to the Keshi ’99 class, the Chukwu/Odegbami Class had the same Yugoslav Coach. As Keshi grew and passed the baton to Uche Okechukwu, Clemens Westerhof came into the limelight. The same Keshi as quoted earlier accepted his place behind his model, Christian Chukwu.
Between the posts, it was the Cameroonian greatest Goalkeeper Thomas Nkono who in the same book Rangers International FC, a History of a People asserted that, “Emmanuel Okala is the greatest African Goalkeeper of all times.” If the class of ’77 is winning in No. 5, in between the posts, I think Segun Odegbami and Justice Adokiye Amiesimaka are better wingers than the ’99 class of Amuneke and Finidi George. Finally, the class ’99 had Rashidi Yekini as its top 9.
Rashidi had bullets and speed. But Nigeria’s greatest striker of all times is Thompson Usiyan. He was the complete footballer and at his prime he scored all our goals with both legs, his head or any part of his body. As I await the debate let me return to the Humanitairan of the year. Femi Otedola.
In my expose of Wednesday, SUN, March 20, 2019, which the great Editor promoted on the Back page, and titled; Rangers’ Kenneth Abana is dying, I had alerted the nation on the health situation of Christian Chukwu and the “Magician” Kenneth Abana. Sir Otedola….. with the Money, reacted with immediacy and offered to pay all the Christian Chukwu’s medical bills. Total costs of 15 million naira is his way of paying his gratitude to this Nigerian football phenomenon, the leader of the inimitable Super Eagle of the class of ’77!
….Where are the Igbo millionaires….?
The kill and go, acidic, and byzantine Nigerian Politics provide a stage for some Igbo billionaires to hype their superlative balconies. We will not deny them their constitutional participation in politics. Since independence scholars of Nigeria’s pre and post independence politics would always extol the supportive roles of the Igbo financiers during the struggle leading to the emancipation of our people from the white colonial rule. In golden lines the books wrote of the kindness and financial donations to the struggle by silent Barons like Okonkwo Kano. The man who built the hospitals, the schools, the markets and the only aero drome in Maiduguri. All the infrastructure now pillaged by the Boko Haram! Jos and Minna Gold Miner, Green Mbadiwe and of course the richest blackman of that generation, Michael Ugo who was shot on the Orders of Muritala Mohammed’s Second Division when that army slaughtered Asaba October 7, 1967.
Since Otedola… with the money came to the rescue of Christian Chukwu, where are the Emeka Offors, Arthur Ezes, the Ubas, Innoson, Cocharis, the Young, Tony Elumelu, Ned Nwoko, Chickason etc. Where is Mr. Flavor, Phyno, the Nollywood superstars, why you are all unconcerned and a Yoruba Prince came from heaven running with the balls and taking Chukwu away from pure water to Champaign land!
Please give us a call now.
We did it for Etim Esim, we can do it for Kenneth “Magic” Abana.