Thursday 22 June 2017

Nigerians Mourn Former Coach Caterpillar

The news of the demise of former national team player and coach, Kelechi ‘Caterpillar’ Emeteole has thrown stakeholders in Nigerian football into mourning.  Emeteole died in the in a New Delhi hospital, India, where he had gone for throat cancer treatment. He was 66 years old.

The late coach was regarded as one of the most successful coaches in the Nigerian league where he managed Spartans of Owerri to WAFU Cup final in 1983 and also coached Enyimba, El Kanemi, Enugu Rangers and Heartland of Owerri.

As a player, Emeteole played for the national team under the Yugoslavian football coach during the 1976 African Cup of Nations where Nigeria came third. He won 17 caps playing for the Green Eagles and was also a member of the coaching crew to the U-17 World Cups in China in 1985 and Canada in 1987. As coach, he also led Iwuanyanwu Nationale to the final of CAF Champions League in 2009.

Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung expressed dismay and sadness over the death of the coach, who was a member of the Dammam Miracle coaching crew. In a statement, Dalung expressed shock that despite the timely intervention of Nigerians to raise funds for his medicals, he still succumbed to the cold hands of death. He seized the opportunity to commiserate with the family of the deceased, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the entire football confraternity over this unfortunate incident.

He said “When we were still grappling with the reality of Lizzy Onyenwenwa’s death, we have lost another sports icon who was dear many Nigerians. This is one death too many, but who are we to question God? All we can do as humans is to mourn the departed and accept the inevitability of death. I was impressed at how Nigerians home and abroad heeded the clarion call to donate their widows mite for the coach popularly known as ‘Caterpillar’. It was a testament to who he was and how much he was loved by all.”

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