Issa Hayatou, President of the Cofederation of Africa Football (CAF), on Wednesday condoled with the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, and Nigerians on the death of former Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi. This is contained in a statement on the association’s website.
This is as Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole described his death as “a great loss to the nation and Edo State where he was resident”.
Hayatou expressed his “dismay” and “immense sadness” at the sudden death of the former Nigeria international. He paid glowing tribute to the deceased, who emerged as the only African coach to have qualified two African teams to the World Cup – Togo in 2006 and Nigeria in 2014.
“’His other enviable record is being the only African trainer to have steered a team to the Second Round of the FIFA World Cup, with Nigeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
“He had achieved the same feat as a player with the Super Eagles at their maiden participation at the Mundial in 1994, in USA.
“’The CAF President conveyed the condolences on his own behalf, the CAF Executive Committee and African football family on the demise of Keshi, who was a jewel to his family, friends and the Nigerian football family, who are badly affected. “This is a man, who was twice winner of the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria; in 1994 as captain and in 2013 as a coach, with the latter earning him the distinction of Coach of the Year at the Glo-CAF Awards,” the statement read.
Oshiomhole, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, 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 peaceably 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 positively.
“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) 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.”