‘I still cannot believe my son is dead’ – Onigbinde, other coaches mourn Keshi

KeshiNigeria’s coaches woke up to the shocking news that Stephen Keshi died on Wednesday at the age of 54.

He was the first Nigerian to make coaching success abroad after he helped the tiny Togolese national team reach the 2006 World Cup in Germany before he was sacked and replaced with German Otto Pfister, few months to the tournament.

As a coach, Keshi led the Super Eagles to win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations becoming the only Nigerian coach to have won the title and the second African to win the trophy as player and coach.

He equally won bronze with the country’s home-based team at the 2014 African Nations Championship.
He later propelled the senior national team to the last 16 of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Tributes from football coaches in Nigeria have been pouring in for the ‘Big Boss’, with Goal highlighting contributions from the football fraternity:

Former Super Eagles coach Adegboye Onigbinde, who appointed Keshi as captain while in charge of the senior national team, described him as a son who had made an unforgettable mark.

“Everybody has a role to play during his own time and Keshi did very well as a coach and player,” Onigbinde told Goal .

“He is like my son. If you remember, I made him the captain of the Super Eagles seeing his quality and high spirits.

“Nigerian football will miss him a lot. We have lost a great figure. I just cannot talk much of him because I still cannot believe my son [Keshi] is dead,” he said.

In a sad note, Super Eagles asisstant and Enugu Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo said: “A true Nigerian legend passes on. May the soul of Stephen Okechukwu Keshi rest in perfect peace. The Big Boss our heads are bowed for all you gave us.”

For former Super Falcons and Enyimba coach Kadiri Ikhana, Keshi death is a big loss to the coaching fraternity and he will be missed greatly for his achievements.

“He has done his best. Since we have lost a great person among coaches and in the Nigeria football family,” Ikhana told Goal.

“This is a loss that we didn’t expect now. I was hoping he would still be around a bit and give us more ideas on how forge ahead in Nigerian football. God’s time is the best. We will miss him greatly,” he said.

While Edwin Okon who handled the senior women national team while Keshi was in charge of the men’s team admitted he has lost a great coaching friend.

“Keshi was a good friend especially when I was in the Super Falcons and he was in charge of the Super Eagles,” said Okon.

“We discussed as coaches and exchanged ideas, But it is a very shocking news this morning that I woke up to hear that he has died. It is a rude shock to me. I think he has a lot to offer Nigeria with the few times we were together in Abuja.

“I believe we have lost a great coach in the coaches association in Nigeria. I pray God will give his family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he concluded.

Keshi was an outspoken manager who championed the appointment of African coaches into national team coaching jobs on the continent.

He was survived by four kids and his age mother.

culled from


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