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Governors, friends,associates, others expressgrief

NIGERIANS have reacted to the sudden
death of former Super Eagles captain and
coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, in the
early hours of yesterday in Benin, Edo
The outpouring of grief is an attestation
that the foremost defender was loved by
all Nigerians and even foreigners, some
of who came across him at one time or
the other. Some of them were in tears
when they were asked to comment on
his death.
Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta State
The governor described Keshi’s demise
as tragic and a monumental loss to
football in Nigeria, Africa and the entire
In a condolence message signed by his
Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles
Ehiedu Aniagwu, the governor extolled
the leadership qualities and sterling
contributions of the former Super Eagles
Captain and Coach to the growth and
development of football in Nigeria and
He said the sterling contributions of
Keshi to the development of football in
Nigeria and Africa is legendary, com­
mendable and worthy of emulation as a
great patriot and achiever having led
Nigeria to win the African Nations Cup
twice as a player and coach.
Okowa said: “On behalf of the
government and people of Delta State, I
commiserate with the family of the late
Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, and the entire
football loving fans in Nigeria over the
demise of the late Super Eagles former
Captain and Coach.
“The remarkable achievements recorded
by the Nigeria Super Eagles in 1994 and
2013 were unarguably due to his
indefatigable role as the Captain and
Coach of the Super Eagles in those glori­
ous years culminating in the winning of
the African Nations Cup.
“Delta State and indeed Nigerians has
lost a great man whose contributions to
the football world can best be described
as legendary.”
Gov Oshiomhole of Edo State
The Governor, in a statement signed by
his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter
Okhiria, described the late Stephen
Keshi, fondly called the ‘Big Boss,’ as a
thoroughbred professional, complete
gentleman, a good citizen who impacted
positively on his immediate environment
where he lived a quiet life.
Oshiomhole said: “On behalf of the
government and people of Edo State, I
join millions of Nigerians and other sports
lovers worldwide to condole with my
brother, the Governor of Delta State, Dr.
Ifeanyi Okowa, on the sudden death of
this illustrious son of the state. He was a
thoroughbred professional, a complete
gentleman and a good citizen of Edo
State, where he lived quietly and peace­
ably with his neighbours before he gave
in to the cold hands of death. His death
is most painful not only to football lovers
but to those whose lives he impacted
“While we mourn Keshi, we celebrate his
many contributions in bringing joy to
millions of homes across the nation and
the world with his football skills which
were honed during his days as a player
with the defunct New Nigerian Bank
(NNB) Football Club of Benin. His name
will undoubtedly be written in gold as a
great Nigerian Ambassador who brought
glory to the country and left an indelible
mark in the sands of time.
“I pray that the Almighty God will grant
his soul eternal rest and his family the
fortitude to bear this great loss.”
Franklin Howard, one his closest friends
Only God understands what happen to
Keshi. He was to travel to USA today
(yesterday). This is the biggest blow
around me; we were very close. I just
can’t imagine what happened. People
have been calling me all over the world
to confirm if it was true.
Dominic Iorfa, Ex-international
I’m shocked beyond words. We discussed
him in Bauchi last week and the prospect
of him landing a job in South Africa. This
is a great loss. Keshi was one of our
inspirations in the national team. This is
a big loss to the country.
George Omokaro, alias 10-10, ex-
This is terrible, but let’s give glory to
God. Everybody will go one day, but I’m
happy with the legacy he left behind.
However, it’s a great loss to the country.
I send my sympathy to the family.
Former Green Eagles goalkeeper, Mike
The death of Keshi is a national
catastrophe. I’m highly shocked to hear
of his death. This is coming after the
death of his wife six months ago and I
think something is wrong somewhere. He
was a grassroots friend; we played
together in the national team. My heart
feels for his children.
Ifeanyi Onyedika, former Green Eagles
The death of Keshi is not only shocking
but also painful. I remember he buried
his wife not long ago and was on the
verge of landing a job in South Africa.
His death is terrifying and very sad.
Moses Kpakor, former Super Eagles
I’m so shocked by Keshi’s death. His
leadership on the pitch as team captain
for club and nation was uniquely
inspiring. Even in death, he still
represents a picture of the golden years
of our local league and football. May his
soul rest in peace, Amen.
Chairman, Kogi United, Abdul Sule
It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost a great
person in Stephen Keshi; we’ve lost a
hero. His death is unfortunate, but
there’s nothing we can do; that’s what
God wants. I pray God to forgive his sins
and bless the family he left behind. May
Allah be with them.
Ishaya Jatau
I’m still in shock to hear about Keshi’s
death. I’ve lost a friend, a brother,
because when I was playing, he was my
mentor, and he always put me through.
And when I was coaching again, he
always encouraged me, put me through
and I think I’ve lost a father figure in
Former NFF scribe, Dr. Tijani Yusuf
I was the first to employ him when I was
NFF scribe. When I called him, he said
he would gladly want to serve the
country and in a matter of days he
arrived the country and started work as
Amodu Shuaibu’s assistant. He was a
great guy. He was patriotic and
hardworking. We have lost a legend. I m
in pains and I can’t hold back tears.
Former board member of NFF and
veteran journalist, Fan Ndubuoke
Like him or hate him, Keshi was a
legend. His death is a big loss for
Nigerian and African football. I just can’t
believe he is no more.
Chairman technical committee of NFF,
Chris Green
I’m speechless. I need time to put myself
together. This is tragic.
Mike Idoko, vice chairman Lobi Stars
Nigeria has lost a soccer icon. With what
is happening now, we must all seek the
face of God. Keshi’s death is painful. I
pray God grant him eternal rest.
Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, the man who
made Keshi captain of Nigeria in 1983
This is too much of a shock. May his
soul rest in peace.
Alhaji Sani Ahmed Toro, former NFF
secretary general
This is a big loss to Nigeria football.
Please accept my condolences.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed
There are no praise words too big to
describe Stephen Keshi. I still cannot
bring myself to speak about him in the
past tense.
Chief Emeka Inyama, chairman, Abia
Warriors FC
His death is shocking; it’s a big loss to
Nigeria football and Nigeria as a whole.
It’s a terrible development and we
commiserate with Nigerians and his
Former Niger Tornadoes FC chairman,
Suleiman David
The death of Keshi came at a time his
wealth of experience and advice to the
rebuilding of the national team was most
needed. This is a great loss to Nigeria
and football in general. I want to, on
behalf my self and entire family, express
my heart felt condolence to the family
and the Nigeria Football Federation
(NFF) for this great loss of a legend.
Chief Donatus Ejidike, Pillar of Sports
Keshi was one of the most charismatic
skippers who had firm grip of the
national team as captain and put in his
best as tactician handling the Super
Eagles. He will be remembered for
laurels he won for Nigeria, his patriotism,
his commitment, his integrity and unal­
loyed loyalty to his fatherland. We have
lost a gem, a charismatic skipper even as
the vacuum vacated by Keshi will be
difficult to fill.
Former NFF president, Alhaji Sani Lulu
He is a legend of African football, and his
death at this time is not what we
expected, but who are we to query God?
He is the omnipotent, and omnipresent.
He gives and he takes when he deems
fit. We should all take solace with the
maximum impact that Stephen Keshi
made while he lived. I mourn Stephen
Keshi, and pray that God grant his soul
an eternal rest.
Former NFF secretary general, Chief
Taiwo Ogunjobi
This news is disheartening and a national
disaster. It’s a sad moment and big loss
for Nigeria football. Keshi gave his entire
life to Nigeria football, he was my captain
to 1984 Nations Cup and he was my cap­
tain when we played together against
Morocco. It’s a big loss to football
family, and he deserved a national burial
by the Federal Government.
Former NFF Executive Committee
member, Elder Dickson Adejube
I am shocked upon hearing the sad news
of the passing on of Stephen Keshi. I
sympathise with the football family and
coaches association and I will implore
the Federal Government to name the
Abuja National Stadium after Keshi and I
am praying God to give the family the
fortitude to bear the loss.
Former Green Eagles captain and coach,
Christian Chukwu
He is a legend of Nigerian football
because he achieved a lot both as a
player and as a coach. I want the
country to give him a befitting burial and
at the same time immortalise him so that
it will serve as a source of
encouragement to the younger
generation of Nigerian players to realise
that when they serve their fatherland
very well, they will not be forgotten when
they die. My heart goes out to his
children who have automatically become
orphans without planning for it, having
lost their mother not too long ago. I pray
that God will grant them the fortitude to
bear the irreparable lost. And at the
same time I also pray that God will grant
his soul eternal repose.
Chief Mike Okereke Umeh, former vice
president NFF
The news of his death is a rude shock to
me, in particular, because I have
personal relationship with him, having
worked with him as a player and as a
coach. Keshi is a legend. As player, he
was successful and as a coach, he was
also successful. It’s most unfortunate.
His death has devastated me I must
confess to you.
Friday Ekpo, ex-international
A great one is gone. As colleagues in the
national team, he was one of the best I
had a wonderful time with. I am really
touched by the sad news of Keshi’s
death. So sad that he lost his wife in
December last year and now he is gone.
He was a likeable player and very jovial
on and off the football pitch.
Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye, SSA to
Lagos State governor on sports.
I was shell-shocked when I got the sad
news of Keshi’s death. We were so close
for more than 25 years. It’s really hard
for me to believe that Big Boss is gone. I
really feel sad that he lost his wife in
2015, his former assistant, Valerie, also
lost his wife less than a week ago and
now Keshi died yesterday. May God grant
his soul a perfect rest.
Emmanuel Amuneke, Flying Eagles’
So sad that we lost Keshi at this time.
Some of us watched him play and later
joined him in the national team. He
always encouraged us as young players
then. He was a great lost for Nigeria and
Nigerian football. We would indeed miss
the Big Boss.
Tunde Disu, former national team coach
The entire football world will miss
Stephen Keshi. I am really unhappy over
this, but what can one do? Death is
inevitable. He was a great player and
also a great coach. He achieved a lot in
the game; I pray God to grant the family
the fortitude to bear this huge loss.
Ike Shorunmu, former Super Eagles
goalkeeper’s trainer
I’m short of words because the Big Boss
was a friend, a mentor and a leader to all
Nigerian footballers. I have headache as
we speak because I cannot believe that
the person I spoke to on phone on Tues­
day is now dead. I told him to move on
with his life. It’s a sad moment for
Nigerian football and me.
Etim Esim, ex-Super Eagles midfielder
I still can’t believe Keshi is gone. This is
sad moment for Nigerian football. He was
a leader and played a great role in
transforming the lives of Nigerian
players. He was a leader on and off the
pitch. We will never forget him.
Paul Okoku, ex-Green Eagles midfielder
It’s hard to believe that Stephen Keshi is
no more. We have been friends since
primary school days at St. Pauls, Ebute
Metta, Lagos. I must say that he is more
than a friend; he is a brother. We played
from school days to the national team
level and we are always together in the
US. This is shocking and unbelievable.
Edwin Okon, former Super Falcons coach
It was shocking news to me because I
was quite close to him and when I heard
the news this morning, I was
demoralised. Before we started training
this morning, I called the players to
observe a minute silence for the great
coach. It’s a very big loss to Nigerian
coaches as well.

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