BREAKING NEWS: Soccer icon, Stephen Keshi dies at 54

BREAKING NEWS: Soccer icon, Stephen Keshi dies at 54
June 08 05:51 2016

Nigeria has lost one of its illustrous sports personalities, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.

Keshi died in the early hours of Wednesday in Benin, Edo state after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest.

Thinkers Newspaper recalls that Keshi had lost his wife of 35 years, Kate on the 9th of December, 2015 and may not have fully recovered from that loss.

“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” a friend said.

He is survived by four children and his mother.

Meanwhile, the family has released a 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,” Ado wrote.

“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 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,” the statement read.

Keshi was one of the most outstanding players in the history of the country’s soccer, playing as a central defender for the Super Eagles for over a decade as well as wearing the captain’s armsband for many years.

Aside Mahmood El-Gohary of Egypt, Keshi is the only other individual in the continent to have won the African Cup of Nations both as player and coach.

Nicknamed the “Big Boss” for his leadership skills, Keshi won it in Tunisia 94 with the Super Eagles and as the coach of the same team in South Africa, 2013.

Keshi is the fifth member of the 94 winning team to die, following Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.

Keshi, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very young age at ACB Football Club, and later played for New Nigeria Bank, Stade d’Abidjan, Africa Sports, Lokeren, Anderlecht, RC Strasbourg, and a host of other clubs.

He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali.