The departure of Nigerian, Michael Emenalo, from the post of technical director at English Premier League club Chelsea came as a surprise.
Emenalo, who was at the club for a decade, was the only African holding a top executive position in the elite football league.
His position would have no doubt put him at constant loggerheads with the club’s coach but that he stayed on the job despite Chelsea changing managers 11 times tells a lot about his exceptional skills and persona.
I have met Emenalo several times. First at the Best of Africa Awards in London and most recently at a party organised to celebrate the achievements of Brighton Albion Manager Chris Hughton, the only black Premier League manager.
He was obsessed with details and that no doubt served him well in the high-pressured environment at a top Premier League club.
Not many would point him out from a crowd because he rarely gave interviews, opting instead to pull the strings away from the limelight.
He was, however, a common fixture at home games, always seated behind the Chelsea first team bench at Stamford Bridge.
His influential role saw him act as a link between the Chelsea board and club owner Roman Abramovich.
With that position he wielded enormous power at the club pulling strings on the players who join and leave the club.
In December 2015, he was thrust in the limelight when he had to appear on Chelsea FC TV to announce the sacking of Jose Mourinho from the club.
He leaves behind a legacy of a successful club both on and off the field. Chelsea is much better than it was when Emenalo joined in 2007.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, the London club won eight major trophies, its football academy blossomed so did its women’s team.