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Nigerian Football

Another Ex-International, Kenneth Ilodigwe Dies





It was double tragedy for Nigerian football on Thursday. Shortly after the death of Paul Hamilton, another former international footballer, Kenneth Ilodigwe of Enugu Rangers, also passed on.

Family sources informed Sports Village Square, via whatsapp message of the death of the midfielder, whose goal against Mighty Jets of Jos, sealed the Challenge Cup victory for Enugu Rangers in 1974 final.

Kenneth Ilodigwe, popularly called “Kendo”, reportedly passed on at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu after a protracted illness.


He left Enugu Rangers in the mid 1970s for academic pursuit in the US. Some years back, he was diagnosed with malignant prostate cancer at the Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia in the US and needed about $65,000 for the operation.

Early Friday morning, a message from a family member reads: “We just received the sad news that Kenneth Ilodigwe (Kendo) passed away today 3/30/17 at UNTH Enugu, after a brief illness.

“Kenneth was from Awka, Anambra State. He was one of the finest footballers to come out of Africa, a veteran Enugu Rangers FC striker and also a former Clemson University soccer star.

“He will be fondly remembered by Nigerian soccer fans worldwide. May his Soul Rest in Peace. Please keep his family in your prayers. Funeral arrangements would be announced later.”

Ilodigwe who was in and out of the then national team, Green Eagles, in the 1970s before venturing to the US, came into limelight after winning the Manuwa/Adebajo Cup with the then East Central State Academicals in 1971.


In the final match, East Central State Academicals beat Kwara Academicals 1-0. He went on to win the National League consecutively with the famous Rangers of Enugu in 1974, 75 and 76.
He was also in the East Central team that won the football gold medal at the 1973 edition of the National Sports Festival in Lagos.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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