BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Christian Chukwu, General Manager of Rangers International has expressed grief at the loss of Kenneth Ilodigwe, a former team mate of his in the glorious days of the once glamorous African side in the 1970s.
Speaking with www.sportsvillagesquare.com, Chukwu described the loss of Ilodigwe as shocking.
Ilodigwe, one of the founding members of Enugu Rangers in May 1970, died at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital last Thursday, the same day another Nigerian football personality, Paul Hamilton passed on at Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Chukwu, who said he was speaking on behalf of both the former Enugu Rangers players and the current composition, described Ilodigwe as a wonderful midfielder before the late footballer went to Clemson University in US for further studies in 1974.
With former captain, Dominic Ezeani, Ilodigwe was often invited to fly down to Nigeria to fortify Rangers team in critical matches of the 1975 African Cup of Champions Clubs.
He had aided Rangers emergence as league champions in 1974 and scored the goal that launched the club into victory path in the Challenge Cup. Enugu Rangers emerged double champions.
The first time he was recalled to assist Rangers was in the second round match of the 1974 African Cup of Champions Clubs in the return leg match with Young Africans of Tanzania.
The first leg in Lagos ended goalless necessitating the ‘importation’ of Ilodigwe from the US for the return leg in Dar es Salam. The match ended 1-1 and Rangers advanced on away goal rule.
He was recalled again for the return leg of the semi final match against El Mehalla of Egypt after Rangers slumped 1-3 in the first leg. He aided Rangers’ 3-0 routing of Mehalla in the return leg in Enugu, even though he got red-carded just before half time.
Former FIFA/NFF security officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gideon Akinsola, has joined in commiserating with the families of late Paul Hamilton and Kenneth Ilodigwe as well as his former club, Enugu Rangers and the NFF.