Srivaddhanaprabha was also as close to Nigerian players at the club like he did with other Leicester City stars.
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho were still paying host to Ubi Franklin, Nigerian music talent manager at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, October 27 when the helicopter carrying Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed, killing the billionaire and everyone on board.
Ndidi and Iheanacho had started Saturday’s Premier League clash against West Ham. While the former played the whole 90 minutes, the latter was withdrawn in the 62nd minute of the encounter.
It was turning out to be a very pleasant evening for Ndidi who had scored late in the game to secure a 1-1 draw for Leicester City.
But while he played host to a visitor from Nigeria, tragedy struck just outside the King Power Stadium where the helicopter of Leicester City owner Srivaddhanaprabha had crashed.
Thai billionaire, Srivaddhanaprabha is known to leave the stadium with the helicopter every matchday. On this particular Saturday, the helicopter had been heading for Luton, where Srivaddhanaprabha would have then taken his private jet back to Thailand.
But just some seconds after take-off from the centre circle of the pitch, the helicopter appeared to suffer a malfunction which sent it into a tailspin before it crashed just adjacent to car park E.
Some players including Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel were among a group of people who watched as the helicopter crashed.
Ndidi and Iheanacho were still inside entertaining their guest when the crash occurred.
According to an inside source who spoke with Pulse Sports, the Nigeria internationals alongside their Leicester City teammates were called into a conference hall and briefed on the situation.
Ndidi took to his Twitter after that meeting with three prayers up emojis as they awaited confirmation on Srivaddhanaprabha’s death.
Leicester City confirmed the death of their owner on Sunday and tributes from the players who were in shock followed.
Ndidi retweeted the tweet from Leicester City Twitter handle with broken heart and one crying face emojis.
He later wrote his poignant message. Saying; “You were far too kind and supportive. Thank you for all you did for the club, for always encouraging the team and coming all the way to watch me play at the world cup. Rest on sir #theboss.”
Srivaddhanaprabha was very close to all Leicester City players. The Boss, they called him.
“It breaks my heart to know I will never see you in the dressing room when I came in early from my warm-up and have a chat about everything and nothing,” Schmeichel wrote on is social media, stressing Srivaddhanaprabha’s closeness to the players.
“That you won't be there having fun and laughing with the boys and seeing your infectious smile and enthusiasm that rubbed off on everyone you came into contact with.”
Srivaddhanaprabha was also as close to Nigerian players at the club like he did with other Leicester City players.
Like Ndidi highlighted in his tweet, the Thai billionaire was in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup where he watched Super Eagles games because of the Leicester City boys.
“He sent messages to the boys including Ahmed Musa after the (Nigeria’s) 2-0 win over Iceland,” a Pulse Sports source said.
Iheanacho also paid tribute to his late boss. “May the good Lord accept your soul rest on boss,” the forward wrote.
Musa who left Leicester City in the summer also paid his tribute.
“Someone so special, will not be forgotteNot be forgotten,happy times I could never regrets, wonderful memories will live on forever, I will never forget you,” Musa said.
“Death can never take a good man away,in the hearts of the people he inspired, the legacy remains and continuous throughout generations.
He was a great man and father to many,may his soul find eternal rest.”RIP @lcfc.”
As the word of football mourns, it has been a painful weekend for the Leicester City and the Nigerian boys.
The whole squad has been offered grief counselling as they come to terms with the tragic death of the Srivaddhanaprabha who bought the club in 2010 and chaired them to world fame following their sensational Premier League title win in 2016.