Players and match officials in the 2016/2017 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) are to wear black arm bands during Match Day 26 fixtures to honour the late Kelechi Emeteole.

Kelechi Emeteole

The former coach of several prominent NPFL clubsides, nicknamed “Caterpillar’’ in his playing days, passed on in the early hours of Wednesday in India where he underwent surgery for throat cancer.

The League Management Company (LMC), who are the NPFL organisers, said in a statement on Thursday in Abuja that the late Emeteole thoroughly deserved the honour.

The LMC has therefore directed that a one-minute silence be observed across all NPFL venues on Saturday and on Wednesday during Match Day 26 fixtures.

Shehu Dikko, the LMC Chairman, expressed grief at the demise of the coach and said Emeteole was a figure who contributed immensely to the Nigerian football league.

“The passing on of coach Emeteole is a great loss to the NPFL because he was a coach that has been very prominent in the league, coaching teams and raising some of the players who have made this country proud.

“He was a true Nigerian who played football and worked with clubs across the states, speaking all three Nigerian major languages.

“Therefore, Emeteole deserves all the honour we can accord him at this time.

“We commiserate with his family and pray that God will grant them the fortitude to pass through this trying time in their family,’’ Dikko said in the statement.

In addition to managing several league clubs, he also worked with many national teams.

These included the Super Eagles, the Flying Eagles, the Golden Eaglets and the Beach Soccer team, the Super Sand Eagles.

After retiring from active football with the then Spartans of Owerri, Emeteole took to coaching and remarkably helped El-Kanemi Warriors return to the NPFL.

The late Emeteole also had more than one stint at Heartland FC of Owerri and Rangers International FC of Enugu.

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