Family In Shock As Nigerian Footballer, 20, Drowns In Belarus

Nigerian footballer Kelvin Odenigbo

BEVERLY HILLS, June 07, (THEWILL) – The unfortunate death of Nigerian footballer Kelvin Odenigbo has been announced by FC Vitebsk, the Belarusian club he was signed to from the NAF Rockets, the Abuja-based Second Division Nigerian Football Club sponsored by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

In announcing Odenigbo’s demise, Vitebsk said on Monday that the forward drowned over the weekend in a tragic occurrence after the body of 20-year-old, who moved to the Belarusian Premier League side in March, was found on Saturday in the Beloye Lake, a tourist destination in the Vitebsk region of Belarus.

An official statement from the Vitebsk medical doctors said an autopsy found “no violent marks on the body and there are no traces of alcohol in Kelvin’s blood. It was a drowning accident that shocked us all.”

That came as a rude shock to his brother Ebuka, a Kano Pillars footballer.

Ebuka found the cause of death disturbing, knowing his late brother Kelvin, who could not swim, usually avoided water bodies completely.

It is understandable that his reaction to the news of his loss is utter disbelief. He made this obvious in his response to the news: “This is a profound shock as he wouldn’t go near a swimming pool. I said this because he can’t swim at all. He doesn’t like water so I was shocked when they said he was found dead in a lake.”

It was doubly unfortunate as it comes at the cusp of the young Odenigbo’s football career breakout. The 20-year-old was fortunate to have been recruited from the NAF Rockets and was finally settling down to life in Belarus. Introduced as a late substitute on May 28 in Vitebsk’s 5-0 trouncing of visiting FK Smorgon 5-0, Odenigbo looked forward to more opportunities to grow.

He had only made four substitute appearances for the club and had much expectations in the same way as the club hoped to get value for their investment in the striker that held so much promise when the abrupt announcement of his death cut short all of dreams.

It has effectively thrown a family and their immediate community in Makurdi into mourning and left Ebuka, his football-playing brother, with the responsibility of finding the right words to console their parents, both of whom are still alive.

Of that, Ebuka said: “I got the shocking news shortly before the kick off of our league match against Enyimba on Sunday. We had finished the pre-match warm-up and was about going on the pitch to play the match when I heard about it. I told the coach to excuse me from the game because I wasn’t myself.

“It’s been very difficult, the news has come as a shock and I have been given permission by the club [Kano Pillars] to be with my parents. I’m on my way to our base in Makurdi because my Mum and Dad are in disbelief. I also don’t have the right words to say to them right now.

“The club has been in touch about his death and requested for a talk but I cannot say anything until the family are able to come together for a meeting.”