Christian Chukwu, the former captain of the old Green Eagles, has arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) for medical treatment.
Chukwu, who captained the Senior National Team to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 1980, travelled with his wife aboard a Virgin Atlantic Airline flight from Lagos.
His arrival was confirmed in a statement on Thursday by the Director of Communications of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ademola Olajire.
According to Olajire, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, arranged for an appointment for the Nigerian legend with a renowned cardiologist in London.
“I am very happy with the efforts of the Nigeria Football Federation through the President, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick. He has proved that he is truly the father of Nigerian Football. I am also grateful for the support and prayers of other Nigerians.
“It is waist pain and stomach upset that I keep feeling. The doctors in Nigeria have treated the stomach upset and it remains the waist pain, but I am confident that I will come back to Nigeria having regained sound health,” Chukwu was quoted as saying.
Olajire said Chukwu and wife were seen off at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by a Member of the NFF Executive Committee and Chairman of the Nigeria Women Football League, Aisha Falode and protocol officials of the federation.
He recalled that when news of Chukwu’s health challenges broke, Pinnick mobilised the Chairman of Enugu State Football Association and Member of NFF Executive Committee, Chidi Okenwa visit the former defender.
The Federation “also sought financial support from philanthropic individuals, with the Chairman of Forte Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola contributing $50,000.”
Chukwu captained the Green Eagles to Nigeria’s first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980.
He had received the then brand new Unity Cup from then President Shehu Shagari.
The man nicknamed “Chairman’’ also captained Rangers International Football Club to the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.
Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria.
That was the Golden Eaglets team which triumphed at the FIFA Under-16 World Cup in China in 1985.
He was also assistant coach of the Super Eagles team which qualified for Nigeria’s first FIFA World Cup finals, appearing at the 1994 finals in the U.S.
The team had also earlier won the Africa Cup of Nations title same year and reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.
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.