Enugu, the ancient coal city of Nigeria, would on 30th July, 2016 play host to a huge novelty football game. This game would see the Ex Udoji United players come up against Ex Nigeria Internationals and this is in hour of the dead Ex Udoji Players like Charles “Charlie Parker” Nduka, Kalu Umah and Herbert “Alibosa” Anijekwu. The match is billed for Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium Enugu, a great cathedral of football in Nigeria and would feature Ex Udoji players like Ikem “Potential Ayaya” Udeh (the convener), Coach John Obuh, Chukwu Ndukwe and Adolphus “Careca” Ofodile. It would also feature Ex Nigeria Internationals like Emma “JJ” Okocha, Precious Monye Onyeabor and Austin “JayJay” Okocha. There would be raffle draws with a car for the taking. This is a commendable project as the proceeds would be used to aid the widows and families of the fallen Udoji FC heroes and as such, Naija Sports Crib is lending her voice to it.
Inside sources say Enugu fans would also be treated to soccer skills of their old football idols that grew up from the ranks of schools in Enugu especially College of the Immaculate Conception (CIC), National Grammar School, Nike and Union Secondary School, Awkunanaw. Most of these stars later played for local teams like River Lane, UNTH, ASESA Warriors, Vasco Dagama and of course Rangers International. Some also played for Udoji United which was of Awka but was domiciled in Enugu. Some of these stars are Uwabunkeonye Ogbodo, Kingsley “Shagari” Obiekwu, Emeka Ofoje, Steve “ST Kporoo” Ezugha, Bede Onyia, Pascal Omeda, Udoka Maduka, John Utaka, Ugochukwu “England” Okoye, Ikechukwu ‘Fayaya” Oku, Ernest ‘Duruquack’ Duru, Eloka Mgbaka, Chukwudi Osunduba, Chijioke Munonye, Kenneth Zeigbo, Ebele “Abebe” Anijekwu, Eche “Omalele” Ezechukwu, Chikelue “Confusion” Iloenyosi, Eloka Asokuh, Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi etc.
The rivalry then between Udoji United and Rangers (the darling team of Enugu residents) was huge even as they both shared the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium. An old Anambra state FA cup final involving the two teams readily comes to mind. The first game ended 0-0. A fiercely contested replay saw Rangers running away with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a goal scored by Rangers striker, Ifeatu “Khumalo” Oboli. During this upcoming novelty match, Enugu fans would also want to see the Rangers/Udoji players of this era especially the ones that played for both teams namely Anthony “Poropo” Emeodofu and Jude Agada. Other Rangers players of this era that fans would like to see are Kingsley “Merenge” Ogbodo, Chukwuma “Chakwara” Nwoha, Mba Agbai, Taribo West, Hilary Azodo, Ibe Johnson, Cornelius “Zico” Udebuluzo, Aduba Akosa, Ndubuisi Ajomiwe, Ndubuisi Ndah etc not forgetting however former Udoji players like Ifeanyi Aghenu, Robert Iweha, and Dele Bob-Manuel.
We hope the organizers would approach all these players and that they would heed to the call to make the whole project worthwhile.