Africa and the entire football fandom today mourn former Super Eagles player and Coach, Stephen Keshi who died at the age of 54.
Keshi was the former captain of the Nigerian national team, playing as a defender. He is one of two men who have won the African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) as both player and coach.
He won the AFCON cup as a player in 1994 and as a coach in 2013, leading the Super Eagle to victory in South Africa. He withdrew from the Nigerian national team in 1994, having 64 caps and nine goals to his credit.
He is the first African coach that has led the Super Eagles to win the AFCON. His leadership also saw the Super Eagles making it to the last 16 stage at the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
He was however sacked first as a caretaker coach but restored due to the intervention of former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. In July 2015 he was sacked for the final time and replaced by former Super Eagle player Sunday Oliseh, who later resigned.
Local Nigerian media report that he had complained of a leg ailment before passing away. A statement supposedly released by Mr Keshi’s brother, Emmanuel Ado reads;
“Our son, brother, father, father-in-law, brother-in-law, has gone to be with his wife of 35 years (Nkem ), Mrs. Kate Keshi, who passed on on the 9th December 2015.
“Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back to Nigeria to be with her. He had planned to fly back today (Wednesday), before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest.” (NAN)
Mr Keshi is survived by his mother and four children, having lost his wife in December 2015.
Already condolences are pouring out from fans, football associations and many more mourning the legendary coach.
Former Nigeria Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi, is dead. Reports say the legend died in the early hours of Wednesday, RIP Big Boss.
— The NFF (@thenff) June 8, 2016
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) June 8, 2016
So sad the news of Stephen Keshi death. Probably the best african manager ever
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 8, 2016
All at CFC are saddened to hear of former Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi's death. He worked with Mikel & Victor Moses. pic.twitter.com/ejohJrRSUP
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 8, 2016