Super Eagles player and coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has passed away. Keshi suffered cardiac arrest in his home in Benin City, Edo State, where he was vacationing. He died while being rushed to the hospital. Keshi (31 January 1961 – 8 June 2016), was born in Bauchi State, Nigeria though his family hails from Delta State. His death is untimely and even more tragic coming just six months after his wife, Kate, died after a battle with from cancer. As Nigeria and the rest of Africa mourn the loss of one of its greatest football stars, we look at some highlights of his career as a player and a coach.
Keshi played for several European clubs including Anderlecht, Belgium, where he won two Belgian Cups. He also won the Tunisia’94 AFCON competition as a Super Eagles player. In his incarnation as coach, he had an on-again off-again relationship with the Super Eagles but would be remembered for leading the team to another AFCON trophy in 2013, making him one of two African coaches (Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary is the other) to achieve this feat. And the only black coach to do so.
Besides Nigeria, Keshi had a successful career as coach of the Togolese national football team, helping them qualify for their first World Cup tournament in 2006. He also had a stint as coach of the Malian National football team.
His achievements with Nigeria and Togo, Keshi is the only African coach to lead two African countries to qualify for the World Cup finals.
Since news of his broke, tributes have continued to pour in from all over the world. He is survived by four children. He will be missed. Rest in peace, Keshi.