Enugu Rangers forward Ifeanyi George was driving with his friend Gabriel Eteka and Rangers B player Emmanuel Ogbu when he ran into a stationary vehicle along the Agbor-Benin expressway.
The three occupants of the car died on the spot according to information reaching Pulse Sports.
With the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season suspended due to the emerging cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, George and his friends were on their way to Lagos for a holiday after Enugu Rangers gave them 10 days off.
George’s death sent shock waves throughout Nigerian football as tributes flooded in.
The League Management Company (LMC) organisers of the NPFL in a statement on their website released that their chairman Shehu Dikko called Enugu Rangers’ team manager Amobi Ezueaku and coach Salisu Yusuf to extend his condolence message.
“We sympathise with the club at this trying time and pray for the repose of his soul and wish the injured ones a speedy recovery”, Dikko is quoted to have said during the phono call.
“We are shocked to hear of the sad passing of striker Ifeanyi George and Emmanuel Ogbu players of Rangers International,” the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Twitter.
“Both players were involved in a fatal auto crash earlier on Sunday. Our prayers and thoughts are with their families and Rangers’ Mgt. May their souls Rest In Peace.”
“Sad day for football. Again, the death of Ifeanyi George of Rangers International, Enugu in a ghastly motor accident concentrates the mind,” sports minister Sunday Dare wrote on Twitter.
“A very painful death. Emmanuel Ogbu, a youth footballer died along with Ifeanyi May God console their families. I share in their grief.
“Sunday tragedy: Condolences to the families of the 2 other persons who died in the car accident along with Ifeanyi George: Eteka Gabriel and Emmanuel Ogbu. May the souls of the 3 of them Rest In Peace. Amen.”
George played for Enyimba before he joined Rangers in 2016 to help them win their first league title in 20 years.
The late striker George also had the opportunity to represent Nigeria as he played for Yusuf's home-based Super Eagles in both legs of their double-header African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Benin in August 2017.
Enyimba players abducted
Sunday got worse for Nigerian football following the news Enyimba’s duo of Dayo Ojo and Benjamin Diomande were kidnapped.
The players were also on their way home when they were abducted at Ipele, after Ifon in Ondo State.
There were three players in the car but only two were kidnapped as Emma James escaped.
The kidnappers have reportedly made contact for a ransom for Ojo.
It’s been a tough month for NPFL that also saw the death of Nasarawa United defender Chimene Martins who slumped and died during a match against Katsina United in Lafia on Sunday, March 8.
That death also happened a couple of weeks after Remo Stars assistant captain Tiyamiyu Kazeem died allegedly during an altercation with policemen in Sagamu.