By John Egbokhan
A front-line member of the Association of Nigerian ex-internationals in Diasporas (ANED), Christian Nwokocha has described the death of a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Association, P.O.C Achebe as a huge loss to the Nigerian football community.
Nwokocha, while issuing a release on behalf of all ANED members from his base in the United States of America, said that many soccer players who were around during the time when the late Acehbe was at the NFA, would remember him for his fatherly love, kind spirit and organised system.
Nwokocha, who holds the record of being the first Green Eagles player to sign for an European first tier team in the early 80’s, Sporting Lisbon, described the deceased as the father of football in the country.
“We find it difficult to talk about (POC Achebe) the three-time Secretary General of Nigerian Football Association. As the father of Nigeria Football Association, we all know he loved the national team and the nation more than anything in this world.
“He often told us in camp of our amusing pranks and some of our antics, and he always recalled these stories with a smile on his face. POC Achebe was more than just a father of football to all; he was also our best friend.
“How he loved to hear about our triumphs, and was just as pleased to be able to lend a kind ear to some of our challenges as well. Nigeria will miss him”, said ANED members, comprising Andrew Atuegbu, Paul Okoku, Obed Ariri, Nathaniel Ogedegbe, Fatai Aterie, Godwin Odiye, Francis Moniodafe, Charles Okoye, Ike Ofoje, Thompson Usiyan, Humphrey Edobor, Amechi Nwogu, and Tony Igwe.
Continuing, Nwokocha said that the group was conveying its sympathy to the deceased family, who they pray God will give the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved.
“Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt sorrow goes out to Achebe family and the nation during these very difficult times. ANED and NFF will miss his loss very terribly, and so will many fans and well wishers of Super Eagles around Atlanta who had the good fortune of knowing him”, wrote Nwokocha
The other ANED members include Sam Okpodu, Mathew Onyemah, Andrew Uwe, Dehinde Akinlotan, Femi Olukanni, Segun Olukanni, Emeka James, Godwin Iwelumo, Totty O. Totty, Obed Ariri, Peter Nieketien and Tajudeen Disu,