NFF officials killed my football career, says singer Crayon



By Victoria Oluwayemi

Charles Chibueze Chukwu, known as Crayon, a popular singer recognized for hits like ‘Trench To Triumph,’ has spoken again about a distressing incident in 2015 involving the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

In a recent interview with Cool FM Nigeria in Lagos, Crayon disclosed that certain influential figures within the NFF obstructed his football career by removing him from a national team selection and favouring someone with financial influence.

The singer, who was then nicknamed Coutinho, after a former Liverpool player, said he had earned a spot on a national youth team, a significant achievement for any aspiring footballer.

However, his dreams were dashed when he was allegedly dropped from the team due to the influence of individuals he claims were corrupt officials within the NFF.

According to Crayon, the selected individual hailed from a well-off background and had connections within the football circles.

During the interview, Crayon revealed that this incident had a profound impact on him, contributing to a period of depression he endured in 2015.

He lamented the lost opportunities and the frustration of seeing his peers move forward with their lives while he remained stagnant.

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Crayon also shed light on his earlier ambition to become a professional footballer and his passion for the sport.

He explained that he had actively pursued a career in football, even earning the nickname ‘Coutinho’ among his peers, drawing a parallel with the Brazilian football star Philippe Coutinho who played for Liverpool.

However, he encountered the harsh realities of the Nigerian football landscape, which he described as being marred by corruption and favouritism.

In an interview published by in October 2022, Crayon said he attended a number of trials and after impressing and getting picked, his place was taken by someone else ‘who had money’ to allegedly bribe the officials.

“I went for a screening in so many places. I was super close to joining Manchester United in 2012-13. I came to Surulere for a football screening and then it was [Victor] Ikpeba and a lot of ex-Super Eagles players. I got picked and then they just substituted me for somebody else because I didn’t have like money or something,” said Crayon as reported by Pulse Nigeria.

The 23-year-old further alleged corruption still exists, as he has seen some of his friends miss out on opportunities because they lack ‘connections.’

“The Under-17s we have now is no longer like the Under-17s we used to have. I feel like the [Victor] Osimhen set was the last set that was actually talented, the rest…..omo na connections o.”

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