The former Nigeria international and coach celebrated his 70th birthday on Monday and believes his legacy will live on
Christian Chukwu is confident his contribution to the growth of Nigerian football as a player and coach will be remembered.
The former Super Eagles captain and coach celebrated his 70th birthday on Monday, and he has been praised for his part in the country’s development.
Chukwu captained Nigeria to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980, a trophy that had eluded them on a number of times before achieving the feat.
He served as an assistant to coach Sebastian Brodericks-Imasuen and helped the West African country to win their first U17 World Cup trophy in China in 1985.
Chukwu was also an assistant to Clemens Westerhof when Nigeria won their second Afcon title in 1994, and qualified for their maiden appearance at the World Cup.
He guided the Super Eagles to a third-place finish at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations and made a major contribution to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Rangers.
Chukwu has recollected some of his achievements for the West African country and believes his legacy will live on.
“I will be remembered for all I have done. I was an assistant to Westerhof and we won the Nations Cup in 1994,” Chukwu told Goal.
“We led Nigeria to the World Cup for the first time in their history and we were rated the number five best team in the world.
“I also coached U16 and won Fifa U16 World Cup in China and lots more. I believe Nigeria will remember me for all these.”
Chukwu has been lauded by Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari for his achievement in a statement through his special advisor on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, on Wednesday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari sends warm greetings to the former coach of the Super Eagles, Christian Chukwu, on his 70th birthday, joining sports lovers, family and friends to celebrate the skilful footballer who captained the national team to lift its first African Nations Cup title in 1980,” read the statement.
“The President rejoices with the multi-talented and disciplined player on the auspicious period of turning a septuagenarian.
“His contributions to the development of sports in Nigeria will always attract attention, particularly making the country proud by providing technical leadership for other national teams like those of Lebanon and Kenya.
“President Buhari also notes, with commendation, the efforts of the former Captain of Rangers International, Enugu, in strengthening the local league, which has over the years been the major feeder of the national team and produced players that have featured in some of the best teams and championships in the world.
“The President prays for improved health, strength and longer life for the former Super Eagles captain.”
In April 2019, Chukwu battled with health challenges and was flown abroad for treatment with the help of billionaire oil mogul, Femi Otedola, who paid $50,000 towards his medical bill.