The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has expressed shock and sadness at the sudden death of veteran national female football player, Ifeanyichukwu Chiejine.
The minister in a statement by the Director of Press in the ministry, Mrs. Blessing Lere-Adams, in Abuja on Friday, 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, Mr. Dare said Chiejine’s leadership qualities were worth emulating by Nigerian youths.
He said she was determined to succeed in her chosen profession despite challenges.
News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, 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 statement read: ”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.”
Chiejine, 36 passed on after a brief illness on Wednesday.
She played for Nigeria’s 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.