Legends are sometimes remembered even long after they are dead. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, former Super Eagles skipper, and gaffer would always be remembered even in death. On the 7th of June 2016, he was pronounced dead on his way to the hospital due to a suspected heart attack in Benin City, Southern Nigeria, according to his brother and manager Emmanuel Ado.
Four years after, Nigerians are still paying tribute to Steven Keshi who had an illustrious sporting career. The “Big boss” as he was fondly called, was the captain of the Nigerian side that qualified for the first-ever World Cup in 1994, where they reached the second round before losing to Italy.
Keshi played in five Africa Cup of Nations championships and won the 1994 African Cup of Nations.
He played professionally in Ivory Coast, Belgium, France, United States and Malaysia. He also managed the Hawks of Togo and The Eagles of Mali.
Appointed coach of the Nigerian team in November 2011, Keshi handled the Super Eagles over four spells, leading them to the 2013 African Cup of Nations title in South Africa, becoming only the second man to win it both as a player and a coach, as well as the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Super Eagles assistant coach Joseph Yobo penned a heartfelt tribute to commemorate the death of his former boss.
“Dear coach, it’s been four years today since you left us to rest with the Lord. You are deeply missed but your legacy lives on! Rest on the Big Boss”.
African football body, Confédération Africainé de Football CAF didn’t forget to show tribute to the African Legend.
“Today we remember Captain Fantastic, Stephen Keshi, who left our world on this sad day 4 years ago ”In 2013 Keshi became the second person to win the #TotalAFCON title as a player (1994) and coach when he led @NGSuperEagles
to their third trophy in South Africa,” CAF tweeted.
Mimi Fawaz, an award-winning journalist with the BBC also paid tribute to the Legend.
“4 years since the passing of Stephen Keshi. Still remember our last phone conversation, 4 days before you died. The only second man in history to win AFCON as a player and coach.
During his reign as Super Eagles of Nigeria manager, he helped build the reputation of the Nigerian Premier League by bringing in some local players into the mainstream Super Eagles team.
He went further by including the likes of Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwueke, Godfrey Oboabona, Reuben Gabriel, Ejike Uzoenyi and AFCON 2013 hero Sunday Mba in Nigeria’s 23 man list to the tourney. He was the only African coach to reach the knockout phase of a World Cup. Legends never die. History maker”.