Nigeria – football: Stephen Keshi Passes On

After losing his wife last year, the Nigerian football icon died of heart attack yesterday, aged 54. Nigerian football legend, Stephen Keshi has joined the heavenly choir after suffering from a heart attack.
The Super Eagles former defender and coach is one of the two Africans to have won the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and a coach. He won the 1994 AFCON as a player and in 2013 as the coach of the National football team. After retiring as a professional footballer for Belgian side Anderlecht, Keshi moved over to the United States to be trained as a football coach. He returned to Nigeria to pick up a job as the coach of the Junior Eagles with whom he took part in the 2001 African youth championship without success. He moved on to coach the Togolese national team accomplishing the feat of qualifying them for the first world cup participation in Germany 2006 though he was replaced by Otto Pfister prior to the final round of the tournament. He worked as manager of the Mali national football team, after being appointed in April 2008 on a two-year deal. Keshi was sacked in January 2010, after Mali’s early exit in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. On 18 November 2013, Stephen Keshi set a record in African football by being the first African coach to successfully qualify two African nations (Nigeria and Togo) to the World Cup Finals. He also helped Nigeria become the first country to achieve an African Cup of Nations trophy and World Cup qualification, both in 2013. In July 2015, following Nigeria’s exit from the World Cup, Keshi’s contract with the Nigerian Football Federation expired and was not renewed. Upon news of his death, the Nigerian football federation president, Amaju Pinnick, said « This is devastating. We have lost a superhero. » Sunday Oliseh, a former team-mate and Keshi’s successor as Nigeria coach, tweeted his shock at the « horrible news » and
called Keshi « an iconic hero ».


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