Why Alliance Hospital is Treating Kadiri Ikhana Free Of Charge
By Amaechi Agbo
On Thursday, October 31, 2019, former Super Falcons and Enyimba of Aba FC coach, Kadiri Ikhana successfully underwent hip surgery at the prestigious Alliance Hospital in Abuja.
The hip replacement surgery which is the first of three other surgeries to be carried out on the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner, was a cheering news to football followers and those who have followed Coach Kadiri Ikhana’s deteriorating health condition lately.
In mid-October, Coach Ikhana who was the first Nigeria coach to win CAF Champions League trophy and also led Kano Pillars to their first Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL glory in the early 2000s, to the surprise of many Nigerians, cried out for help.
The news broke out that the coach needed surgery to fix his hip joint and spine which have greatly affected him.
No sooner than he made the SMS (Save My Soul) call that help came his way.
Alliance Hospital, situated in Garki, Area 11, Abuja immediately made contacts and got in touch with the renowned coach. After much discussion with him, the hospital accepted to treat Coach Kadiri Ikhana free of charge. The news was as cheering as it were when he first lifted the CAF Champions League with Enyimba FC in 2003
But what many did not know is the motive behind Alliance Hospital’s decision to carry out an operation or embark on medical treatment of Kadiri Ikhana that would cost over $150, 000 US dollars or ten million naira (N10, 000, 000.00) in that region.
We gathered that the hospital had two main reasons it embarked on this laudable humanitarian venture.
First, the hospital has been rendering and providing free medical services in this nature to tens of Nigerians particularly the ‘nobodies’
Secondly and most importantly, Coach Kadiri Ikhana has given his all to the country both as a player and coach.
Coach Kadiri Ikhana has recorded three firsts nationally as a player and coach. First, he was a member of the Green Eagles (now Super Eagles) who won the first Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria in 1980. The first Nigeria coach to win CAF Champions League trophy with Nigeria club side, Enyimba FC of Aba in 2003.
Coach Kadiri Ikhana is also the first coach to win the Nigeria Professional Football League for Kano Pillars. Also not forgetting the fact that Coach Ikhana gave the country all he had both as a youth and as coach.
As a coach, Ikhana helped in no small measures in moulding not just players but also coaches in the country. Among the 20 clubs in the NPFL, at least 16 of the coaches were either schooled in coaching by Kadiri Ikhana or worked under him for some years.
Prominent coaches in this regard include Imama Amakpakabo, U-23 national chief coach and his assistant, Kennedy Boboye both who have made historical marks in Nigeria football. While Imama won the NPFL with Rangers in 2016 after 35 years, Boboye won the NPFL with Plateau United in 2017.
Addressing a press conference before the first operation on Thursday, the Team Leader of the Alliance Hospital, Dr Christopher Otabor explained why the hospital decided to take up the responsibility.
“It all started about one week ago. I was watching the television, ITV to be precise, and I saw Coach Kadiri Ikhana and he was walking in an awkward manner and there was an appeal to assist him because his health was failing and he needed some surgical intervention.
“He specifically mentioned total hip replacement surgery and I thought that is one of the areas we are strong in and I decided to put a call across to the media station to link me up with the eminent coach. After I succeeded, we spoke and I understood that he is suffering some ailments that have to do with his bone, joint and spine. So I invited him to Alliance Hospital and we decided to treat him free of charge even though at that time I did not know the extent of his ailment.
“When he came to the hospital, we ran all the tests, we did an MRI scan of his spine, we did x-ray of his hip joint and we discovered that the problem was much bigger than I thought initially. I thought maybe just one hip replacement will suffice but I later discovered both hips have failed and it was in a very advanced stage of Osteoarthritis of the hip joint (Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine). And in addition to that, his spine has degenerated so bad that the nerves of the spine cord was being compressed from the degenerating disease.
“So it became obvious to me that we have something big in our hands. He will need total hip replacement for bot hip joints, he will also need a spine surgery for spine decompression and pedicle screw inter-body fixation. These are not small surgeries. He will need at least three surgeries for him to be back on his feet again.
“For the total hip replacement, because of the advanced nature of the arthritis, he will need some augmentation. Each one of those surgeries cost N2.5 million here. If he was to do those surgeries in the US, each one of them will cost him $50, 000. So he is doing right and left hip replacement and then he is also going to doing spine fixation, that is decompression of fixation. At least five levels.
“The spine surgery will take at least six hours to be accomplished while each of the hip replacement surgery is going to take in the neighbourhood of three hours each. So putting everything together, the cost of the surgeries would be N10 million. But the hospital has decided to treat him free of charge because of something.
“Coach Kadiri Ikhana has given his youth to this nation. He has brought hope to many young footballers who are in themselves super stars now across the world. He has discovered hundreds of talents that have brought joy to their families and fame to this country.
“In addition to that, he has also achieved quite a lot for himself. I started following Coach Kadiri Ikhana back in 2000s. I was in Kano when he led Kano Pillars to their first Premier League glory and he was the first coach ever in Nigeria to will the Africa Champions League with Enyimba FC. He was in the squad of the Super Eagles, then Green Eagles, that won the Africa Nations Cup in 1980.
“He has also coached the Olympic and youth teams as well as the female national team, Super falcons. These are no mean feat and I think someone like this should not be left to suffer for one day because he has paid his dues and he deserves all the help he can get.
“I personally feel very honoured and privileged to be the one to treat Coach Kadiri Ikhana. No matter what it will cost us as a hospital, we are ready to go all the way. This is not the first time we are treating people like this.
“He is a high profile personality but before now we have also treated people who are ‘nobodies’. People we find on television, we invite them to the hospital and do surgery for them to change their lives.
“I want to thank the minister of youth and sports for sending his PA on media to represent him in this briefing. He has been in touch with the coach and is also in touch with some cooperate organisations to see what they can do.
“If we get help, we will not mind but if we do not get help, we are willing to go all the way on our own,” he concluded.
Coach Kadiri Ikhana underwent one of the three surgeries on Thursday and is recovering very well. The second of the three surgeries is expected to be carried out either within the week or early next week.