Delta State Commissioner for Information and former President of the Hockey Federation of Nigeria, Hon. Patrick Ukah, has expressed his deep shock and pain over the sudden passing away of former Super Eagles Captain and Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, on Wednesday June 8, 2016.
In an emotional tribute to the late Nigeria football legend and icon, Ukah, a former international Hockey player, who enjoyed a very cordial and warm personal relationship with the late Keshi, remembered him fondly, thus:
“My friend, my brother, Nwa Oti Onu Mkpologwu III, ah, Nwa Oshimili, Nwaoboshi Ibuzor, Nwanem. It is unbelievable!
I knew it was going to be difficult when Kate left this world to the great beyond. Now, you’ve slept in the bosom of the Lord away from the troubles of the World. We’ll miss you. I’ll miss you.
Who will I share gboskolo with now? I remember the sweet memories when we lost the special brew from Boy-O-Boy (PA Aburime, your father-in-law).
I will miss you. Delta State will miss you. Nigeria will miss you. But your memories would linger for life, until we meet to part no more.
Rest in peace Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi, the legendary Skippo, the ‘Big Boss’ of Nigerian Football.
You deserve a title in your honour. So long, nwanem, Ukah mourned.
It could be recalled that Keshi died of cardiac arrest in the early hours of Wednesday in Benin City, Edo state.
The former international football player and coach had lost his wife of 35 years, Kate, last year after a prolonged battle with cancer.
He is survived by four children and his mother.
Keshi, the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations, achieved a rare feat in 2013 by becoming only the second person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach.
The only other person to have achieved the feat is Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.
Keshi, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very young age at ACB Football Club, and later played for New Nigeria Bank, Stade d’Abidjan, Africa Sports, Lokeren, Anderlecht, RC Strasbourg, and a host of other clubs.
He represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994, most of the time captaining the Super Eagles and scoring vital goals from his position as a central defender.
He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali.
Keshi, nicknamed the “Big Boss” for his leadership skills, is the fifth member of the all-conquering 1994 team to die, following Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.