Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), FCT chapter has described the shocking demise of former Super Eagles Captain and Coach as ‘devastating’ and a heavy blow to Nigerian Sports particularly football.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Chairman Comrade Kayode Adeniyi recalled with nostalgia the various contributions the former international footballer who later became the first African to qualify an African country, Togo to World Cup, and prayed to God for the repose of his soul.
“I really don’t know what to say. I have been sad since I heard of Keshi’s death. You see Keshi was a great and kind man when he was alive. He left good legacies. People like him are worthy of emulation. Personally, I’m yet to come to terms that he is no more alive.
“He is a man Nigerians won’t forget in a hurry. I think government should do everything possible to immortalize him. Essentially, I pray that he will continue to rest in the bossom of the Lord.”
Keshi, the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations, achieved a rare feat in 2013 by becoming only the second person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach.
The only other person to have achieved the feat is Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.
Keshi, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very young age at the Africa Continental Bank Football Club of Lagos. He later played for New Nigerian Bank of Benin-City where they broke the jinx to win the first WAFU Cup. He was coached by the legendary Willie Bazuaye.
From there, he left for Stade d’Abidjan in Cote d’ivoire. He had another brief stint in Africa Sports before heading to Belgium to play for Lokeren and Anderlecht. He left for France to play for RC Strasbourg towards the twilight of his career as a player. He had stints in a host of other clubs.
He represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994, most of the time captaining the Super Eagles and scoring vital goals from his position as a central defender.
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.
He is the fifth member of the glorious 1994 Super Eagles team to die, after Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.