LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A soccer player formerly on Nigeria’s national team was killed in a car crash and another was kidnapped by gunmen while driving in a separate incident on the same day, their clubs said Monday.
Ifeanyi George, who played two games for Nigeria in 2017, was killed along with club teammate Emmanuel Ogbu when their car collided with a parked truck in Edo state in southern Nigeria on Sunday.
Their deaths were announced in a statement from their club, Enugu Rangers. George was 26. Ogbu was a member of the club’s youth team. A third man who was in the car and who was not a soccer player was also killed.
The Nigerian soccer league was suspended last week because of the coronavirus pandemic and George and the other men were reportedly returning home to Lagos.
Also Sunday, Nigeria striker Dayo Ojo of two-time African club champion Enyimba and a player from a different team were kidnapped by gunmen while traveling by car to the city of Akure in southwestern Nigeria. Enyimba said another of its players escaped from the gunmen.
Ojo played for Nigeria at the 2018 African Nations Championship when the team made the final.
Kidnappings for ransom are relatively common in Nigeria and soccer players and coaches and their families are often targets. Former Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel and former national team coach Samson Siasia have both had relatives kidnapped. Siasia’s mother was kidnapped and later released last year. Mikel’s father has been kidnapped twice, the latest time while his son was playing for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup.
SAM OLUKOYA I Associated Press