Stephen Keshi: Champion of Nigerian Football and National Pride

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Stephen Keshi (23 January 1962 – 7 June 2016) was a Nigerian football player and manager.

Life and Career

He was born on 23 January 1962 in Azare, Nigeria, and began his playing career in the Nigerian league before moving to play in Belgium and France. As a player, Keshi represented Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup, where they reached the Round of 16. After retiring from playing, Keshi transitioned into coaching and began his coaching career in Nigeria before taking on various roles as head coach and assistant coach with teams in Africa and Europe. In 2011, he was appointed head coach of the Nigerian national team, where he led the team to victory in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, becoming the second person in history to win the tournament both as a player and as a coach. He also led the team to the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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In addition to his successes with the Nigerian national team, Keshi also coached several club teams in Africa, including Togo, Mali, and South Africa. Keshi’s coaching style was known for its emphasis on defense and physicality. He was also known for his ability to get the best out of his players and for his ability to rebuild teams. Keshi passed away on 7 June 2016 in Benin City, Nigeria. He was 54 years old at the time of his death. Keshi had a heart attack and died en route to the hospital. His death was a great loss for the African football community, and his legacy in the football world will always be remembered.

Award and Legacy

Stephen Keshi had a successful career as a player and coach, and his achievements have been recognized with various awards and honors. Some of the most notable awards and honors include:

  • The Nigerian National Order of Merit award, which he received in 2013 for his contributions to Nigerian football.
  • The CAF Coach of the Year award, which he won in 2013, in recognition of his success in leading the Nigerian national team to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations.
  • The BBC African Footballer of the Year award, which he won in 2013, in recognition of his success as a coach.

In terms of legacy, Keshi is remembered as one of the most successful Nigerian coaches in history. He is also remembered for his ability to rebuild teams and get the best out of his players. He is considered one of the best coaches in Africa and his influence can be seen in the development of coaches in Nigeria and African football as a whole. His achievement of winning the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and coach is a record that will be hard to beat.

On 23 January 2018, Google Doodle celebrated Stephen Keshi’s 56th Birthday.