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NIGERIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION MEMBER CHIDI OKENWA IS DEAD

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Tragedy has befallen Nigerian football following the death of a member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chidi Ofo Okenwa on Tuesday morning. Aged 50, he was also the chairman of Nigeria National League (NNL), the second-tier club football competition in the country.

In addition,  Okenwa, who was also the Chairman of the Enugu State Football Association, had been diagnosed as having leukemia, and was said to have been restless throughout the night and slumped in the early hours before being rushed to a private hospital in Enugu, where he was confirmed dead.

A devastated President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, paid glowing tributes to Okenwa, who was part of a meeting of the NFF Executive Committee held via video conferencing penultimate Friday. It was that same day that Okenwa celebrated his 50th birthday.

“This is a huge shock. Each and everyone of us on the NFF Board is in absolute grief. Chidi (Okenwa) was a loyal soldier of Nigeria Football and was a leading member of our intellectual wing. This is a terrible blow.

“He was one man you can always rely on to give candid advice. We bounced ideas off him regularly and picked his brain on many issues because of his wide knowledge and decades of experience in football administration. We will sorely miss him,” Pinnick said.

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Brilliant, humble, eloquent, witty, thorough and committed to the development of Nigeria Football at all levels, Okenwa evinced capacity, zeal and fervour, and gave his all for the good ending of any project or assignment in which he found himself.

The remains of the late Chidi Ofo Okenwa has been deposited in a mortuary in the city of Enugu and the NFF is in contact with his family with regards to a decision on the date of the final burial rites.  

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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