Christian Chukwu is a Nigerian football former player and former national team coach. He has been recognized as one of the greatest defenders to play for Nigeria. Chukwu was nicknamed “Chairman” by his teammates for his leadership. He is responsible for bringing Mikel John Obi to the limelight.
Christian Chukwu Okoro was born on January 4th, 1951 in Uwani, Enugu South Local Government Area, Enugu State. He attended Christ Church Primary School Uwani and National Secondary School, Nike, Enugu. He went on to join East Central State Academicals and where he won the National Cup.
Chukwu began his football career in 1975, and soon became the captain of his club, the Enugu Rangers. His personal charisma and leadership style, as well as teamwork, brought fortune to his club during his captain.
He led his Club to win the Challenge Cup four times in 1975, 1976, 1981 and 1983. He is regarded as the most successful skipper in Nigeria of his time and holds the record of a Captain that has won the coveted Challenge Cup four times. His Club won the Africa Cup Winner’s Cup in 1977 under his captainship.
He was a tireless warrior on the pitch. His resilience kept his teammates always focused. He was not only a professional footballer who was committed to the game; he was also an able administrator of his mates.
Chukwu started his coaching career in Lebanon in the mid-1990s, before being appointed coach of the Kenya national team in 1998. Later, from 2003 to 2005, he coached Nigeria, leading them to reach semifinals at the 2004 African Cup of Nations.
During the 2006 World Cup qualification phase, Chukwu was blamed for inept coaching and management of the Nigerian national football team, and two matches before the qualifying campaign was over, he was suspended.
In two matches – home and away – against eventual group winners Angola, Nigeria failed to win either one of those two encounters. This was blamed on Chukwu and those two crucial failures eventually led to Nigeria failing to qualify for the World Cup, after having appeared at all World Cup finals tournaments since their debut in 1994.
Chukwu coached Enugu Rangers to 6th place in the 2008–2009 edition of the Nigeria Premier League. However, he was sacked on 5 August 2009 for failing to reach the club’s targets for the season.