8 June 2016
Relatives and close associates of Nigeria’s departed national football coach, Stephen Keshi, have been lamenting his loss.
Nigerians woke on Wednesday morning to the announcement of the departure of the football icon and former Super Eagles coach.
Keshi died of cardiac arrest in Benin at the age of 54 years. He was survived by his mother and four children.
The report of his death was confirmed by a member of his family as well as one of his close associates.
The family said in a statement issued after his death that Keshi did not really recover from the loss of Kate, his spouse of 35 years, who lost a three-year battle to cancer last December.
The couple had been married for over three decades and speaking about her after her death, Keshi had reportedly said: “She was ill for a while and I’m still in shock of this great loss. She is more like a sister to me and was the rock behind me and in everything that I do. My love for her was at first sight”.
A close associate of Keshi also said:“He was not ill at all; never showed any sign of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife.”
Keshi was hypertensive according to the family member who said: “he was managing it very well… always taking his medications and checking his blood pressure very regularly.”
Stephen Keshi began his football career by playing for many clubs from a young age before representing Nigeria from the year 1982 at the age of 20 till he called it quits with the national side in 1994.
Keshi won the Nations Cup in 1994 as a player and in 2013 as a coach of the national side. He was the second such player and coach to have lifted the African Nations Cup twice, the other person being Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, who died on September 3, 2102 in Amman, Jordan, at the age of 74.
Keshi was the fifth member of the Nigeria 1994 victorious squad to have died. Those who died ahead of him were Uche Okafor (January 2011), Thompson Oliha (June 2013), Rashidi Yekini (May 2012) and Wilfred Agbonavbare (January 2015).
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
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