Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine
Late Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine/NAN

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has expressed shock and sadness at the sudden death of veteran national female football player, Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine.

Concise News reports that the minister said this in a statement by the Director of Press in the ministry, Mrs Blessing Lere-Adams, in Abuja on Friday.

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Dare described the ex-international as a fearless heroine that threaded where few dared.

In a condolence letter signed personally by the minister and delivered to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Minister Dare said her leadership qualities was worth emulating by Nigerian youths.

He said she was determined to succeed in her chosen profession despite challenges.

This online news medium reports that the late Chiejine captained Nigeria to the inaugural FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship in Canada in 2002.

She was also a part of the squad that won the African Women’s Championship that year.

Dare said: ”Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine was taken from us too soon, her life was spent striving for excellence in sports. She was a heroine, who went where most only dream of.

“She won firsts for herself and laurels for her dear country. Our youth must learn great lessons from her life that dreams can come true. Nigeria owes her a great debt of gratitude.

“On behalf of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, I wish to condole with the immediate and extended family of the deceased.

”I also extend my sympathies to her former teammates, coaches and colleagues, who may feel irreparable loss by her demise. To the NFF, I say accept my sympathies.

“May God grant her eternal rest and comfort her family and the entire Nigerian football fraternity,” the minister wrote.

Chiejine, 36 passed on after a brief illness on Wednesday.

She played for Nigeria women football league clubs like Pelican Stars, Flying Babes FC, Confluence Queens and FCT Queens.

She also represented Nigeria at three FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999, 2003 and 2007 and was the youngest player at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the U.S.

CAF Mourns Chiejine, Agogo

In related news, CAF expresses their deepest condolences on the passing of Nigeria’s Chiejine and ex-Ghana forward Manuel ‘Junior’ Agogo who passed away this week.

According to Africa’s football governing body in a statement on Friday, “Chiejine, a legend of women’s football in Nigeria passed away on Wednesday after a brief illness, whilst Agogo died on Thursday in London after a long illness.

“Chiejine, 36, was one of the pioneers of the women’s game in Nigeria, playing for Super Falcons between 1998 and 2008.

“At the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999, she was the youngest player at 16 years and 34 days old, to date a record.

“She will go on to make two other appearances at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2003 (USA) and 2007 (China) and also two Olympic Games, 2000 (Sydney) and 2008 (Beijing).

“The midfielder enjoyed over 60 caps with the Super Falcons during her checkered career that saw her play for clubs in USA, Finland, Russia and until recently Kazakhstan.

“On the other hand, 40-year old Agogo was the poster boy of the Ghana team during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations hosted in the West African country. His late winner in the 2-1 win against rivals Nigeria made him a favourite of the fans as the Black Stars won bronze on home soil.

“His exploits after the tournament landed a deal with Egyptian giants Zamalek, where he remains a cult figure among the fans.

“He spent the greater part of his career in England with spells notably at Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham Athletic, Chesterfield, Lincoln City, Queens Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest among others.

“‘Junior’ as he was fondly called also had spells in the United States of America donning the colours of Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire and San Jose earthquakes as well as stints with Cyprus and Scotland.”