Nigerian billionaire oil tycoon Femi Otedola has stepped in to help ailing former captain and coach Christian Chukwu who also coached Kenya in 1998.
Otedola has agreed to pay US$50,000 in order for Chukwu to travel to the United States for medical treatment.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick had also given instructions for the NFF to help the 68-year-old, who captained the Super Eagles to their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980.
But Otedola, whose fortune in 2016 was list as $1.8bn by Forbes magazine has decided to foot the entire cost of the surgery.
The Cable newspaper in Nigeria says Otedola’s decision is a “token of support to a great Nigerian who served his country to the best of his ability.”
This will come as a huge relief to the family who had only received N1.5 million naira ($4,200) from the Enugu government since reports of his condition was made public.
Chukwu was widely regarded as one of the best Nigerian defenders of his generation, three years before the Nations Cup success, he had captained local side Enugu Rangers FC side to the Africa Cup Winners’ Cup title.
As a coach, he assisted Dutchman Clemens Westerhof as the Super Eagles won their second continental title in 1994.
Chukwu, who took over from Adegboye Onigbinde after Nigeria’s first-round exit at the 2002 World Cup, guided the country to a third-place finish at the 2004 Nations Cup.
He lost his job a year later when he was fired following a string of poor results.
Three years after losing his job Chukwu was still demanding unpaid salary ($128,000) from the NFF.
The man fondly known as ‘the Chairman’ also managed Lebanese club Safa FC in 1997 and the Kenyan national team in 1998.