This Day (Lagos)

24 February 2013

Nigeria: Golden Eaglets' Star Striker Loses Mum

The death of Mrs. Mercy Iheanacho, mother of Golden Eaglets' star striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, has been announced.

The 43-year-old Mrs. Iheanacho reportedly passed away in the early hours of Thursday, February 21 at the Enukuku General Hospital in Owerri, Imo State after a brief illness.

But the grim news only flittered into the camp on Sunday's morning when husband of the deceased, Mr. James Iheanacho informed team's officials who subsequently broke the sad news to the Golden Eaglets' striker.

Described as the epitome of a dutiful houseful and caring mother, a crest-fallen Kelechi said his adorable mum will be sorely missed by all and sundry, adding that her death was painful since she was unable to reap the fruits of her hard labour.

"Why me?" Kelechi sobbed after Head Coach, Manu Garba (MFR) in company of other officials, broke the news to him. "Why has this happened to me? Why me? Why now?

"My mother did so much for us especially me and I'm so sad that about this. I spoke with her last week Sunday and I was happy that she was okay, please don't tell me she is dead!" he added amidst wailing.

Officials and teammates have been consoling the lad who is the Golden Eaglets' joint-top scorer with Alhassan Ibrahim on 18 goals in all the 20 friendly and international matches played on the road to the team's qualification for the 2013 African Under-17 Junior Championship in Morocco.

Prayers were promptly held for the repose of Mrs. Iheanacho, with a special request to God to put an end to such untimely death of family and relatives of other members of the Golden Eaglets.

The death of Mrs. Iheanacho came on the heels of the demise of 51-year-old Hajia Fatima Ali-Baba, mother of Golden Eaglets' midfielder and former captain of the National Under-15 team, Saliu Ali Baba in Bida last December as well as that of Madam Iyabo Sarah Adewale, mother of goalkeeper Adeyinka Adewale in Ilorin on September 5, 2012 - four days before Golden Eaglets' 4-1 thrashing of Niger in Niamey.

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