The demise of former Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi has left many Nigerians speechless. The former coach of the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, died in the early hours of Wednesday, June 8, in Benin City, Edo state, Nigeria.
The ex-international died on the way to Faith Hospital in the Benin Government Reservation Area.
The sudden demise of the football legend, who died of cardiac arrest was confirmed by his relatives and the Nigeria Football Federation.
Reliable sources in the family revealed that Keshi complained of being unwell just before midnight on Tuesday, June 7, and was later found gasping for breath.
One of his close friends tearfully stated that “he was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife.”
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The Nigeria Football Federation also confirmed the tragic demise of the football legend on its official Twitter handle.
Former coach Stephen Keshi was scheduled to return to the United States on Wednesday evening. Last year, he lost his wife of 33 years, Kate, after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Family Of Former Coach Stephen Keshi Release Statement
He is survived by his mother and four children. Meanwhile, the family has already released an official statement announcing his death. The statement signed by Emmanuel Ado was titled: “Stephen Keshi CON has gone to be with his wife”.
With thanksgiving to God, the Ogbuenyi Fredrick Keshi family of Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, announces the death of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi.
Our son, brother, father, father-in-law,brother-in-law, has gone to be with his wife of 35 years (Nkem), Mrs. Kate Keshi, who passed on the 9th December 2015.
Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back to Nigeria to be with her. He had planned to fly back today Wednesday, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest.
We thank God for his life. We want to ask for understanding in this very difficult time for the family,” Ado wrote.
Keshi was the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 as a player and a coach. The only other person to have achieved the feat is Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.
The ex-international, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very tender age at ACB Football Club.
He later played for New Nigeria Bank, Stade d’Abidjan, Africa Sports, Lokeren, Anderlecht, RC Strasbourg, and a host of other clubs.
Keshi represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994. He captained most matches and scored vital goals from his position as a central defender. He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali.
Coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was fondly dubbed “The Big Boss” because of his leadership skills.
May his soul rest in peace.