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Nigeria World Cup star Chiejine dies at 36

Former Nigeria Super Falcons footballer Ifeanyi Chiejine has died in Lagos at the age of 36.

Sources told ESPN that Chiejine, the youngest member of Nigeria's class of '99, the team which shone by reaching the quarter finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup that year, had been ill for months, but cause of death is as yet unknown.

"This is huge shock. We had no idea that she was sick," NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi said in a statement.

"Ifeanyi was one of the most naturally gifted players to have featured for the Super Falcons. Her death at such a young age is a big blow.

"She gave 100% of her ability and capacity each time she turned out for country. We will always remember her as a bundle of skill and energy, and as a patriotic individual who wore the green-white-green with a smile every time."

Chiejine, a left-sided winger, could also play in midfield and defence. After representing the Super Falcons at the World Cup, she became the first ever captain of the Nigeria under-19 Women's national team and led them to the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup.

A four-time African champion, Chiejine also featured for the Super Falcons at three FIFA World Cup finals (USA 1999, USA 2003 and China 2007); the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and at the women's football tournament of the 9th All-Africa Games in Algiers in 2007.

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