Lobi Stars of Makurdi’s head coach, Eddy Dombraye has expressed his worry over his wife and child’s safety in Ukraine.
Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion on Ukraine.
More than 660,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries in the last six days since Russia invaded, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
Thousands of Nigerians have also been attempting to flee to neighboring countries, with Putin showing no signs of withdrawing his soldiers.
On Monday, Eddy told TheCable that his wife and 5-year-old child were stuck at a train station in Ukraine while attempting to flee to Poland.
“They were supposed to catch the train from Boryspil which is about 15 kilometers away from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, but the train was cancelled. They are currently looking for a different alternative,” he said.
“The train was supposed to move by 11 am this morning (Monday) but it was cancelled. I have been in touch with them every minute to work on alternatives.”
The 42-year-old left Ukraine in September 2021 for Nigeria after being hired as the head coach of the Lobi Star.
Dombraye is a father of two and he claims that his wife and two children were scheduled to fly to Nigeria on Sunday, but their trip was canceled owing to the issue.
“I have two kids and one of them is in Poland. He is a Polish citizen while the other one who is 5-year-old is currently with my wife,” he added.
“I followed the crisis on CNN since the first day it started. My wife and I thought the war will not escalate as we never anticipated it was ever going to happen. Even my wife said there would be no fight or war. Now, she is blaming herself and I am also blaming myself, wishing they had relocated earlier.
“The worst part of it is that she has a Nigeria visa already. She was supposed to return as her flight originally was supposed to be yesterday to Nigeria, so, everything is so painful.
“We were both residing there. I have lived there since 2002. I based there like a dual citizen but moved down to Nigeria when I got the job as Lobi Star head coach in Nigeria. I have always wanted to come to Nigeria to coach. so, when I returned to Nigeria, I asked my wife to hold on for a few months until I am properly settled in the new space.
“Their flight was supposed to be yesterday. I returned to Nigeria on 6th of September 2021 as Lobi Stars football coach of Makurdi in the Nigerian Professional Football League ( NPFL).”
In addition, the former Nigerian international expressed anxiety over his helplessness to save his family, saying, “This is the worst thing that can happen to any parent.”
“As a football coach, I am trying to put on a brave face when I go out to meet my players but when I am indoors, it’s a different thing. It’s not like I am crying but I am feeling bad because I can’t actually do anything. With my 5-year-old kid trapped in a crisis area and I can’t help, It’s very bad. That is the worst thing to happen to any parent,” he continued.
“Yesterday, they were at home and today we decided to board the train that will take them to Lviv, a border town close to Poland so that my 18-year-old son who lives in Poland as a citizen would pick them up but the train was cancelled. They are currently looking for other alternatives to get there.
“I am worried because getting there is about 12 hours and it’s not a fast train. it’s now all these locomotive trains and I am worried about their safety while on the way. Right now, they are at the train station.”
Dombraye during his active days played for Nigerian, Polish, Ukrainian and Serbian clubs.