It’s black Wednesday for Nigeria, following the sudden death of former Super Eagles coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi,
Keshi, popularly known as “The Big Boss” died of cardiac arrest, in the early hours of today in Benin, Edo State Capital at the age of 54.
His death came few days after his wife, Kate, died of cancer.
Keshi’s brother, Emmanuel Ado, confirmed the incident in a statement “With thanksgiving to God, the Ogbuenyi Fredrick Keshi family of Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, announces the death of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi.”
The statement said “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.”
Mr Keshi will be greatly missed as the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations.
He also became the second person in history to win the competition as a player and as a coach after Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt, when he led the Super Eagles to win the tournament in 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The football icon rose to national prominence when debuted for the Super Eagles in 1981 at age of 20. The late Central Defender withdrew from the national team in 1994. He had 64 caps and scored nine goals.
As coach, Keshi qualified an unlikely Togolese national team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but was sacked and replaced with German Otto Pfister, just before the tournament.
He however, achieved his dream to manage a team at the World Cup, when he coached the Super Eagles side to the tournament in 2014.
Coach Keshi is the fifth member of the glorious 1994 Super Eagles team to die, after Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.
He is survived by four children and a mother.