World football governing body FIFA has paid tribute to former Super Eagles coach and player, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, as they remember fallen heroes of 2016.
The tribute is contained in an article titled “The faces who left us in 2016.”
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FIFA said: ”Very few football observers foresaw Nigeria’s victory at the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, but Stephen Keshi had other ideas, steering his side to the final, where they saw off Burkina Faso 1-0 in Johannesburg.
“A few months later, he led the Super Eagles to the 2014 World Cup after successfully negotiating a tricky two-legged play-off with Ethiopia; at the tournament proper, they reached the knock-out stages.
“During his tenure, Nigeria also participated in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. But the astute Nigerian was not just a talented coach: during his playing career he also lifted the Cup of Nations and took part in five qualifying matches for USA 1994, which resulted in his country qualifying for a World Cup for the very first time.
“At the tournament itself, he was restricted to one appearance – where he proudly wore the captain’s armband – due to injury. Keshi died on June 7 2016 in Nigeria.”
Recall that on June 7, Nigerians woke up to the shocking news that Keshi had passed on at the age of 54.
The sudden demise of the former international was confirmed by his relatives and close associates.
“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” one of his close friends said.