By Tony Ubani
The pictures which showed how the once vibrant skipper of Enugu Rangers and the Green Eagles Christian Chukwu was being guided to walk or climb down the stairs saw tears dropping from the eyes of hospital staff when he was discharged yesterday from Parklane Hospital, Enugu.
This was the same Chukwu who in his hey days refused to wear shinguard because he felt he was too strong to be intimidated by an opponent’s bone. He was such a fit and strong man. They were two players who refused to wear shinguard, then. The second was late Aloysius Atuegbu a.k.a BLOCKBURSTER. Atuegbu earned the sobriquet from another legendary commentator, late Ernest Okonkwo because of his penchant for killer shots.
Pictures made available to Sports Vanguard showed Chukwu wobbling with his walking stick and held by a hospital staff while in the second picture, it was apparent he had difficulty climbing down the stairs with the aide of a female staff.
But all that pain and agony gave way to cheers yesterday when he was discharged from Parklane Hopital and moved to a hotel to avoid anxious crowd from trooping to his residence. Our source insisted that no surgery was carried out on him as he’s expected in the coming days to be flown abroad for surgery.
Our source noted that Chukwu cracked jokes when he was being led out of the hospital.
‘’For now, he’s been stabilized. He can walk and talk. He’ll be monitored by medical hands as Enugu State Government has thrown their weight behind the iconic Chuwu’’, our source emphasised.
Christian Chukwu captained the senior national team of Nigeria as they won their first –ever Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, receiving the brand new Unity Cup from then President Shehu Shagari. He also captained the Enugu Rangers FC team that won the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1977.
Nicknamed ‘Chairman’ for the authority he exuded as he marshalled the defence and launched onslaughts on the opposition defence for club and country, Chukwu also served as assistant coach of the first team to win a FIFA World Cup trophy for Nigeria – the Golden Eaglets that triumphed at the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.
He was also assistant coach of the team widely known as the Golden Generation – the 1994 Class of Super Eagles that qualified Nigeria for her first FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations title and reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup in America.
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.
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