Stephen Keshi, former Nigeria captain and coach has died at the age of 54.
His charisma, influence and contributions to football in Nigeria and in Africa can’t be understated.
Keshi captained the Nigerian team to win its second ever Nations Cup trophy in 1994, qualified little-known-footballing team Togo for the 2006 World Cup, and also won for Nigeria in 2013, her first Nation’s cup trophy since the 1994 triumph.
He was a legend. He was the longest reigning captain of the national team. He captained the team for 13 years from 1981-1994.
He was the second black coach to win the Africa Cup of Nations since YEO Martial won it for Cote d’Ivoire in the year 1992.
He was a leader and an inspiration to many Nigerians.
Little wonder he was greatly revered and respected by all and sundry. Little wonder he was called the Big Boss.
Stephen Keshi had an illustrious career, and here are some of the milestones he achieved (There were many-during his long and beautiful career).
- Stephen Keshi & the 1994 Nations Cup trophy
He captained the Super Ealges team, which had the likes of Sunday Oliseh, Austin Equavoen, Samson Siasia, Daniel Amokachi, Rashidi Yekini and JJ Okocha, to victory in the nations cup in 1994.
This was a major achievement as the country hadn’t won the trophy since 1980 when the Green Eagles won the nation’s first ever continental trophy.
2). Keshi qualified Togo for the World Cup
Keshi qualified Togo for the country’s first ever world cup tournament in 2006.
He was able to achieve this enviable feat with a little known team.
He qualified against all odds from a group that consisted of giants like: Senegal,Mali and teams like Liberia, Congo and Zambia.
3). Keshi won Nigeria her 3rd Nations Cup Trophy
On February 13,2013, Stephen Keshi coached the Nigerian national team to her third nations cup trophy ever.
And with that he made history by being the second person apart from Mahmoud El- Gohary, to win the trophy as a player and a coach.
Stephen Keshi came, saw and he conquered.
And that is why his name will never be forgotten when the history of Nigeria is being told.
Adieu! Big Boss!
Muyiwa Babarinde is a Senior Communication Associate at Red Media Africa, one of Nigeria’s leading public relations/communication agencies. He is passionate about Marketing, Technology and National Development. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.