Opinion: Nigeria has lost a treasure in Keshi

by Tobi Adebiyi

These days, in this part of the world waking up to news of sad occurrences, unfortunately, happens far too often.

The rate at which ill events unfold in this country has almost left us without a sense of deep remorse, but not today.  Not the day, one in only two men to have won the AFCON as player and Coach passed on to the great beyond. Not the day we lost Coach Steven Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi.

Keshi (1)

There will hardly be a Nigerian who hasn’t spared a moment to reflect on the life and achievement of Stephen Keshi.

As I write this, I am still in utter shock. I mean, it was just three years ago when he led a young and dynamic Nigerian side to the summit of continental football by winning the African Cup of Nations.
While only a few knew that his wife of 32 years had just begun her ill-fated battle with Cancer but irregardless of the challenges he was facing at home, he made sure the Eagles we moving in the right direction.
Stephen Keshi

He followed the AFCON triumph by leading Nigeria to the World Cup in Brazil, becoming the first African Coach to qualify two African sides (Togo ‘06 Nigeria ‘14) to the World Cup finals. At the World Cup in Brazil we exited at the round of 16.

Nigeria nations cup win 2014

During his tenure with the Eagles, we can easily conclude that we enjoyed watching the Eagles more than we did under any other manager over the last decade and few years. Such a legend.

Although he had courted a number of altercation with the Nigerian Football Federation, his failure to qualify for the 2015 AFCON proved to be what broke camel’s back.

He was relieved of his duty as the coach of the Super Eagles as some fans with short-term memory called for his head.

Stephen Keshi Trophy

I wasn’t opportune to watch him play, but all I hear from those who did, was that apart from being a journey man, he was more than a normal defender. Arguably, one of the best we ever had. Fact is, he was captain when we last won the AFCON in 1994 lending much credence to all they said.

Stephen Keshi with 19994 nations cupHe was a great man that impacted on the lives of people he came in touch with.

I never had the chance to meet him but hearing from current Flying Eagles manager and former African Footballer of the year, Emmanuel Amuneke, on a TV show this morning, he spoke of how much impact The Big Boss made on him, how much of an influence he was in the dressing room as a player and a coach. With that I could easily conclude that we have lost a national hero.Keshi

For a man whose wife meant the world to him, the report was that he never got over the loss of his jewel. She had died last December.

As he took his last breath in early hours of this morning, we should be happy that he has finally joined his beloved wife in a place where end doesn’t exist.

Stephen-Keshi

R.I.P Coach Steven Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi (January 23 1962 – June 7 2016)

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Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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