Lagos - The Nigerian football family on Tuesday in Lagos
expressed concern over the health of former Super Eagles star, Pius Ikedia, and
wished him speedy recovery.
They spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) against the
backdrop of Ikedia, who slumped on the pitch while playing for ex-Ajax of
Amsterdam stars in an exhibition match two days ago.
He has since been revived in a hospital in Amsterdam.
The soccer buffs also said that it was time the government
took adequate care of the living ex-players who served the country
This, they said, was necessary to avoid their dying in
penury and of preventable causes as had been witnessed in the recent past.
The Dutch media had reported that the 36-year-old was
revived on the pitch after several attempts before he was taken to hospital.
“It was a close shave with death for Pius,’’ the reports
quoted a top source from the club saying.
“We only thank God that with proper care, we were not
celebrating the death of another Nigeria football star on the pitch.’’
Reacting, Christian Chukwu, a former Coach of the Super
Eagles, said the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) was aware of his state and was
working toward improving his health a great deal.
He said that this care should cut across other sports
athletes who were in need of such help and that the NFF should extend little
help to them, especially for health needs.
“We have lost so many great talents and we don’t want to
lose more of them.
“We are aware of Pius Ikedia’s health issues and the NFF is
working on it,’’ said Chukwu who coached the Super Eagles to the semi-finals of
the 2004 Africa Cup Nations.
“The NFF has realised that we lost so many sport athletes
over the years and that little help could have gone a long way to save them.
“Let’s take the case of Rashidi Yekini, one of the top
strikers Nigeria has produced who lost his life in Ibadan while having health
“If the government had shown more interest, he would have
probably been alive and by now, be useful to the NFF because of his experience
in football,’’ Chukwu, former Green Eagles Captain said.
Friday Ekpo, an ex-international, urged the government to
set up a committee that would assist former footballers, other sportsmen and
women who were going through severe health challenges.
Ekpo said that some of the former sportsmen devoted most of
their active years in representing the country in international competitions
and should not be neglected in time of trouble.
“It’s so pathetic to hear that Pius Ikedia is seriously sick
in Holland and of other ex-sportsmen and women that are going through various
“There should be a body or a committee in place to cater for
ex-sportsmen that are go through this ordeal.
“We don’t want a repeat of what happen to Rasidi Yekini and
others too numerous to mention who were abandoned to die.
“By so doing, the current sportsmen will be willing and
determined to represent the country whenever they are called upon,’’ he said.
He, however, advised sportsmen and women to combine
education with their career for future purposes and also save for the future.
Also read: Ex-Super Eagles star Pius Ikedia collapses on pitch
Ikedia started his football career with Bendel Insurance
between 1997 and 1998 from where he moved to ASEC Mimosas of Abidjan where he
played between 1998 and 1999.
After that stint with ASEC, he moved to Ajax of Amsterdam
where he made 25 appearances and scored two goals until 2005.
He has since played for many foreign clubs, especially in
Holland and retired after 2012.
Ikedia made the Super Eagles team that won bronze at the
2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia and also played for Nigeria in the 2000
Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2002 World Cup hosted by Korea and Japan.
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