Christian Chukwu: Nigeria’s Double Player
Nigeria’s former coach and football player, Christian Chukwu’s is 68 today.
Chukwu fell in love with football at a tender age. Owing to his love for football, he decided to focus on it leading to his father to describe him as a “vagabond”. However, he continued to strive to be better and in 1974, he became the captain of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, making him the longest-serving captain in the club’s history.
The win opened doors for him. He and his teammates were rewarded with houses by the Shehu Shagari-led government instead of the “Lucozade and orange drinks” they were accustomed to. More so, under his captainship, the club won four challenge cups and five national league titles.
Chukwu led the Enugu Rangers to another football club IICC Shooting Stars to win a continental championship when they captured the African Cup Winners Cup in 1977.
As if that was not enough, Chukwu went on to become the first Nigerian to lift the African Nations trophy after a 3-0 victory against Algeria in 1980.
Chukwu, who played as a defender, was later named the captain of the Nigerian national team in the 90s.
In the 1990s, Chukwu started his coaching career in Lebanon and was later called on to coach the Kenyan national team in 1998.
In 2003, Chukwu became the coach of the Nigerian national team, Super Eagles. Under his tenure, the Nigeria national team qualified for the semifinals of the 2004 African Cup of Nations.
Three years later, Chukwu was blamed for the national team two crucial failures which eventually led to Nigeria failing to qualify for the World Cup, after having appeared at all World Cup finals tournaments since their debut in 1994.
Between 2008 to 2009, Chukwu coached the Enugu Rangers to the sixth position in the Nigeria Premier League.