Mourning of the death of successful Nigerian football player and coach, Stephen Keshi continues all over the globe today (Thursday), a day after his shocking death attributed to cardiac arrest. The work and personal achievements of the late Keshi continue to be memorialized on social media with the hashtag #RIPKeshi and with letters to his family as part of condolences.
While lamenting on social media, President Muhammadu Buhari described the death of Stephen Keshi as a broken pillar from the wall of Nigerian football. He also made it known that Keshi is one of Nigeria’s legends who portrayed the true qualities that Nigerians were known for due to his diligence at work and always looking happy when he was around other people.
Jonathan Wilson, who writes regularly about Eastern European football for The Guardian newspaper, also described Keshi as one of the most wonderful people he ever met among Africa’s successful footballers and coaches. He narrated all his encounters with Keshi, of which he qualified him as a brawler, talker and successful black African coach.
Wilson met Keshi for the first time while addressing the press in Bamako. In another encounter, he met Keshi while scolding Emmanuel Adebayor after a match, when he was chief coach of the Togolese national team (2004-2006, 2011). However, “Stephen Keshi is a person who seems to be the happiest man with his widest smiles, outside official duties,” Wilson wrote in his op-ed about the deceased footballer.
Keshi is one of the two Africans who won the African Nations Cup as a footballer and also won the trophy as a coach. He was later known as the “Big Boss” due to his leadership nature among his teammates while on camp and on the pitch. Stephen Keshi also played fatherly roles in the life of many African players during his coaching career.
Emmanuel Adebayor was one of the products of Stephen Keshi. As Coach Keshi was fully involved Adebayor’s transfer from Monaco to Arsenal. Nii Lamptey also made his way to Europe through Keshi’s agent in Lagos.
Keshi was a coach who thought it was important to be free with players and appreciated jokes. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also sent a condolence message across Twitter to all Nigerians and Keshi’s Family. In a statement signed by the president of Nigeria Football Federation; Amaju Pinnick the NFF had been in conversations with the family of the departing Nigerian superhero.
Pinnick said decisions about funeral arrangements for Stephen Keshi will be done in the very best form and will be discussed as NFF delegates will meet Keshi’s family today. All Nigeria Professional Football Leagues were directed to observe one-minute of silence before any kick-off to say goodbye to Keshi. World football bodies such as FIFA and CAF were also notified about the death of the Nigerian football hero.