Stephen Okechukwu Keshi Biography – All you need to Know.

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Stephen Okechukwu Keshi Biography – All you need to Know.

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was one of Nigeria’s best footballers both in the local league and in the Super Eagles up to the early1990s. He later became a coach of the Super Eagles before his demise on the 7th of June, 2016. He was born on January 23, 1962. Keshi was born in Azare, a town in the North-Eastern state of Bauchi. Stephen is Igbo by tribe, he hails from Oshimili North local government within Delta state.

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi Biography

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi Biography

He started his elementary education at Saint Paul’s Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Apapa, Lagos before proceeding to Saint Finbarrs’ College, Akoka for his secondary education. However, it was at Saint Gregory’s College that he got his secondary school certificate.

Professional Career

Stephen Keshi had a long and fruitful career, he was a team member of the Super Eagles at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and also captained the team to victory at the 1994 African Cup of Nations. He had 60 caps for the national team, making him the second longest serving player in the history of the team as at his retirement date. His footballing career was vast and widespread. The dogged defender was a pioneer among foreign based African players. He had experience playing in five countries such as Belgium, a Cote’ Ivoire, United States of America, France and Malaysia.

After Keshi retired from playing football, he went on to United States to enrol into football coaching school.

As a manager, Stephen Keshi coached three African nations Togo, Mali and Nigeria. He is still highly revered in Togo for leading the national team to its only FIFA World Cup appearance in Germany 2006.

Stephen Keshi took over the mantle of leadership of the Nigerian Super Eagles in 2011.

During his spell as the Nigerian coach, Keshi led the Super Eagles to their 3rd African Cup of Nations cup, joining Egyptian Mahmoud El-Gohary as a winner of the cup while a player and a manager. The   Super Eagles beat Burkina Faso 1-0. Stephen Keshi was able to take Nigeria to the FIFA Confederations Cup. In the game, the Super Eagles defeated Tahiti in a 6-1 goal difference. The team, however, lost to Uruguay (1-2) and to Spain (0-3).

In 2013, the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan hosted a banquet in honor of Stephen Keshi and the players after their AFCON victory.

Keshi coached the Super Eagles to qualify for the World Cup beating Ethiopia 4-1 aggregate on the 16th of November, 2013. He set the record as the first African coach to qualify two African football teams (Togo and Nigeria) to the FIFA World Cup. He was also pivotal in Nigeria’s progress as the first African footballing nation to both win the AFCON and qualify for a World Cup.

This African footballing legend coached the Super Eagles to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup.

They started with an uneventful draw against tournament underdogs Iran, followed by a slim 1-0 win over Bosnia Herzegovina. Although they lost to Argentina 2-3, the team progressed to the first knockout stage. The team lost to France.

Keshi resigned immediately after the tournament but later reversed that decision when his contract was extended by the Nigerian Football Federation.

At the qualifying stage of the 2015 AFCON, Keshi’s Eagles failed to clinch a single win. He blamed the poor performances on a couple internal forces attempting to sabotage him. He nonetheless emphasized his commitment to taking the football team to greater feats because of his love for the team, country and its populace.

After the exit of the team from the tournament, in July 2015 Keshi’s contract with the Nigerian Football Federation was not extended after it expired. The Executive Committee of the Nigerian Football Federal released a statement questioning his commitment to upholding the goals and objectives of the Federation.

Personal Life

Stephen Keshi, fondly referred to as Big boss was married to Kate for 33 years and together, they have 4 children. He lost his wife to cancer on 10th December, 2015.

At the age of 54, on 7th June 2016, Stephen Keshi died of cardiac arrest in Benin City, Edo state on his way to the hospital.

Honours

New Nigeria Bank FC – General Eyadema Cup West African Club Championship (2): 1983, 1984

2 Coupe Houphoet Boigny : 1985, 1986

12 Côte d’Ivoire Premier Division (1): 1986 Côte d’Ivoire Coupe: 1986

2 Belgian Cup: 1988, 1989

1Jupiler League: 1991

1 Africa Cup of Nations4: 1994

Africa Cup of Nations (1): 2013 Confedrations of African Football – African Coach of the Year 2013

On 7th June, 2018, two years after his death, the tech powerhouse Google honoured the African icon on a day that would’ve been his 56th birthday. Google Doodle is changes made to the company logo to celebrate occasions, events or personalities. It is synonymous with

He was remembered with a customized doodle.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo commissioned the Stephen Keshi stadium on 19th November, 2018 in Asaba, capital of Delta state. The 23,000-capacity stadium was packed with well-wishers and dignitaries alike. Amongst notable guests was the governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Commissioner of Information, Mr Patrick Ukah.

Stephen Keshi’s trademark was his passion and drives to give his all regardless of the odds.

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