Kelvin Odenigbo: Nigerian footballer drowns in Belarus, an accident according to the club
Belarusian club FC Vitebsk said on Monday that Nigerian footballer Kelvin Odenigbo drowned in a tragic accident over the weekend.
Club doctors said an autopsy was found “No violent marks on his body and there are no traces of alcohol in Kelvin’s blood. It was a drowning accident that shocked us all.”
His brother Ebuka, who plays for Kano Pillars in the Nigerian top flight, said Kelvin’s death came as a huge shock to him as Kelvin couldn’t swim and generally avoided water.
“It’s a deep shock because he wouldn’t go near a swimming pool,” Ebuka told BBC Sport Africa.
“I said that 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.”
While Ebuka has become a sensation on the national stage since moving from the College League to the Nigerian Premier League in 2019, Kelvin had only just moved to Belarus.
Retired from the NAF Rockets Abuja, the forward was a late substitute on May 28 as Vitebsk beat FK Smorgon 5-0 in the league.
After four appearances, all as a replacement, Kelvin was so expected in the Eastern European nation that his passing came as a major shock to his family and the community of Makurdi.
“I got the shocking news shortly before our league game against Enyimba kicked off on Sunday,” Ebuka added.
“We had finished the pre-match warm-up and were about to go out onto the pitch to play the game when I heard about it. I told the coach to apologize for the game because I was not myself.
“It was very difficult, the news was a shock and I got permission from the club [Kano Pillars] to be with my parents.
“I’m on my way to our base in Makurdi because my mom and dad are in disbelief. I don’t have the right words to say to them right now either.
“The club have been notified of his death and have requested an interview, but I can’t say anything until the family is ready to come together for a reunion.”
After the death of their Nigerian player, calls were made for Vitebsk fans to pay tribute to him at the club’s facilities in Belarus.