Let’s save Kelechi Emeteole's life! Let’s follow Omeruo, others' shining examples

By Daily Sports on March 13, 2017

Views: 30,463

My dearest readers, I’m here again this week with another difficult story to tell. You would vividly remember that two or three weeks ago, this platform raised the Paul Hamilton aka Wonder Boy alarm. He was an ex-international and former national teams coach. However, when the news of his amputated leg hit the town, Daily Sports through this medium took it up, called and pleaded that good spirited Nigerians, corporate concerns and sundry should kindly come to his aid. The said write up generated over 23,000 traffic hits, meaning that it was well read - a heart chilling and moving human interest story.

Another pathetic human angle story I have this time, is a more life threatening one. If you like, it has a time line. I’m talking about Coach Kelechi Emeteole, aka Caterpillar; a nickname that nearly took over his name via the then golden voice of late ace sports broadcaster, Ernest Okonkwo due to his exploits on the defence line of then Green Eagles. He is another ex-international and former national team coach. He has throat cancer, which has nearly dried him up. His current picture is a shadow of the once bubbling and lively Kelechi.

In short, he is a sorry sight to behold. My heart bleeds as you read this. When I sighted it and I have continued to question what this life is. It further reminded me that Shakespeare in Macbeth described life as: “A tale told by an idiot…”   Kelechi is on danger list. He needs urgent help from rich Nigerians, corporate bodies and current and ex-internationals. Kelechi must not be left to die. What he is going through at presently, I know Nigerians would rally round him and save his life.

Kelechi’s situation remains a sad commentary on heartless Nigeria employers. He is a typical example of the dark shot and shadow called Nigeria and her employers of labour. He is a victim of this long standing man’s inhumanity to man. He worked for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Rangers International, Heartland and El-Kanemi football clubs.

To be honest with you, this reporter is still shocked to the bone marrow, after investigation revealed that the three club sides are the greatest enemies he has. They owe him over N10 million. Now that Kelechi is in dare need, what next? Shamefully, the respective state governments that own the teams have not come up with even a statement. It is cruelty in action.

The League Management Company (LMC) in a statement assured that Kelechi will not be abandoned. But as at the time of putting this article to bed, nothing had come out of Shehu Dikko’s LMC. Kelechi is still lying down, dying installmentally, feeding by artificial means – through pipes. His is better imagined than described.

Methinks that the best option or help Dikko and his LMC would render to aid Kelechi would be to deduct how much money the above named teams owed him so he can use it for rehabilitation after surgery. 

Let me confess that Kelechi’s life is dicey. There should be no procrastination. It is a now or never issue.  I am scandalised. I don’t have confidence in NFF when it comes to coming to the aid of players whether ex or current.

Kelechi has thick skin and big heart as a human being right from his active playing days that opponents always had stories of his terror to tell about the then rugged defence ace; such spirit has been his staying power. We are gradually losing him, but God forbid, only if urgent aid doesn’t come urgently for his treatment in India. 

I know Nigerians can be very generous and passionate for their fellow citizens. I’m fully convinced that Kelechi would get out of this life-threatening aliment. He served this country with his might, faithfully and honestly. Nigerians can’t afford to let him die. We are known to be our brothers’ keepers. This won’t be an exception.

One must vividly hail the move by Super Eagles dynamic defence man Kenneth Omeruo on his swiftness on Kelechi’s health condition. The Turkey-based Nigerian international showed his humanist nature. He is not the richest Nigerian international but he demonstrated human kindness. Omeruo blazed the trail of a big-hearted lad. Omeruo was said to have gotten in touch with Emetole’s wife, Phoebe, from his base in Turkey, pledging a donation of N2 million. He is one example of note. He is my hero and I have not hidden such since 2009 after his damning high performance at U-17 level and as a member of the victorious AFCON 2013.

Omeruo displays humility in its optimum, and he is discipline personified also in the Eagles team; a perfect example to new players in the team. He has played frontline roles in his bid to see Kelechi alive. That is worthy of emulation.

Other Eagles players and rich ex-international should identify with this cause of urgent national importance.

Daily Sports of March 8, ran the story, “Omeruo, others rally round sick ex-international, Kelechi Emeteole”, which promptly attracted high traffic. It read thus: “Succour come for former Rangers of Enugu, El- Kanemi and Heartland FCs Coach, Kelechi Emeteole, who is in need of $11,000 to treat a throat cancer in India.

“Emeteole, also known as ‘Caterpillar,’ was diagnosed with throat cancer recently and is said to be on sick bed breathing with the help of a pipe.

“Touched by the story of Emetole, Omeruo has donated N2 million to enable him go for the treatment.

“It was also learnt that Head coach of Enyimba International FC of Aba, Gbenga Ogunbote, General Manager of Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan Rasheed Balogun and the management of high-flying MFM FC of Lagos have made donations to the ailing Emeteole.”

Gbenga, Rasheed, MFM FC have shown gritty and step of being there when the chips are down. I doff my hat for them and many others that will answer this clarion call. They, as individuals and team are not the richest of the lot but they know when to be there and counted.

They know how precious life is and so they acted promptly. It is my belief that Coaches Association, Players’ Union even state governments can step in decisively and make the difference. Thank you my good friends in Gbenga Ogunbote, Rasheed Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo and MFM, even Dosu Joseph who has been unrelenting and in the forefront appealing to Nigerians to come quickly and save the embattled Coach Kelechi are all agents of positive change. I salute you all.

Oh! least, Pastor Onyebuchi Abia, executive director, Kanu Heart Foundation and ex-dreaded Spartans FC of Owerri player, he has also been up and doing on this crusade that Kelechi Emeteole must not die. He is passionate about it working round the clock and making contacts to that effect.   

I was in his Ikeja office on Monday last week where he broke the news to me and pronto started discussing with highly placed individuals who I believe the Only Wise God would touch their hearts and use them mightily to be blessings to Kelechi who is alive by His Grace. Abia vowed to keep the flag flying until Kelechi wins this battle of life. Kudos, the legend! Others are coming.

According to Emeteole’s wife, her husband needs $11,000 for an urgent surgery to be carried out in India.​

It would be recalled that Emeteole, a defender in his active days played for the then Green Eagles at the 1976 Nations Cup in Ethiopia. He has also served as Assistant Coach in the national teams; first with the Golden Eagles at 1985 FIFA U-17 World Champions, and later with the U-20 side (Flying Eagles) and the senior team (Super Eagles).

Emeteole’s family is appealing for more support from well-meaning Nigerians through the United Bank for Africa (UBA) account number 1007868369. Meanwhile, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph, has appealed for more donations from Nigerians to enable Emetole treat himself in India.

Please where are the other Super Eagles players, kindly show interest because this involves life. I know most of you to be philanthropists, which you practically demonstrated during that trying times of African Champs, Super Falcons vs. NFF. Most of you Eagles players donated millions to the team.  Among you is Ogenyi Onazi. And we have many of you.  We are waiting for you to show up in this critical hour of one of your own, ex- senior colleague and former coach, this cup should successfully pass over. Do endeavour to identify, be God sent and also one of his comforters in this his thorny and bumpy road. The road is not only slippery for him but equally lonely.

We must save the life of this all round patriot. He has paid his dues on national assignment. We should look up to that and show compassion in this his time of need. To him, the end may be near, but God has not said so and with your contribution, no matter how big or small.  Let his name, Kelechi, meaning Thank God make him and all of us laugh last during anticipated thanks giving service in his honour for surviving a life threatening ailment.

God bless Nigeria and Nigerians for ever more. Trust, discussion continues on Twitter and WhatsApp as we keep our fingers crossed. Keep shooting hard, till next week!

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 13, 2017


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