Emotional tributes on Monday poured in for Chinedu Udoji after the Kano Pillars defender died in an auto crash in Kano on Sunday night.
Reports said Udoji died after his car somersaulted on his way back home along Independence Road in the Bompai area of Kano. The accident reportedly occurred after he visited his former club Enyimba at Sabon Gari, hours after their 1-1 draw in their Premier League game at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
On their Twitter handles, the Nigeria Football Federation, League Management Company, Enyimba, Plateau United, Kwara United, Rangers and Katsina United said they were saddened by Udoji’s passing.
“The demise of Pillars defender Udoji came as a rude shock to us this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and club. May his soul rest in peace,” the NFF wrote.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of one of NPFL’s finest defenders. Our thoughts and prayers are with Udoji’s family and Kano Pillars,” the LMC wrote.
The clubs commiserated with the Udoji family and Pillars.
Enyimba wrote, “We are distraught at the news of the passing of club legend and former captain, Chinedu Udoji. We commiserate with his family.”
In a statement, Rivers United said the late player was an inspiration for young footballers in the country.
“We have no words to express how deeply sorry we are but our thoughts are with the family of the deceased during this horrible time,” the Port Harcourt club said.
Former Nigeria midfielder Mutiu Adepoju said he was saddened by the development.
“My fingers shiver as I type my tweet…rest on Udoji, may God grant you eternal rest,” the Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner wrote on his Twitter handle.
Pillars chief, Faruk Haladu said Udoji was an asset and a dedicated player.
“His death is shocking and a great loss to the football family,’’ Haladu said in a statement by the club’s Media Officer Rilwanu Malikawa.
The club said, “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, fans, and football lovers all across the country.”
The Kano State Government, who described Udoji’s passing as “a big loss to the state”, promised to support his family.