Stephen Keshi
Stephen Keshi

Nigerian football icon Stephen Keshi died suddenly in the early hours of Wednesday in his native country. He was scheduled to return to the United States on Wednesday evening before he suffered cardiac arrest.

The former international football player and coach had lost his wife of 35 years, Kate, last year after a prolonged battle with cancer.

According to a family member : “He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” a friend said.

Keshi 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, besides Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, to win the trophy both as a player and a coach.

Keshi 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.

His Family released the statement below

“Stephen Keshi has gone to be with his wife”.

“With thanksgiving to God, the Ogbuenyi Fredrick Keshi family of Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, announces the death of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi,” Ado wrote.

“Our son, brother, father, father-in-law,brother-in-law, has gone to be with his wife of 35 years (Nkem), Mrs. Kate Keshi, who passed on on the 9th December 2015.

“Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back to Nigeria to be with her. He had planned to fly back today Wednesday, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest.

“We thank God for his life.

“We want to ask for understanding in this very difficult time for the family.”

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24 COMMENTS

    • This is how cruel this world is….. No matter how clever and intelligent we might seem one day will all die hence the need to know where our loyalty is (Christ or Satan)

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  1. The captain of the Super eagles team that narrowly beat Chipolopolo at Afcon 1994 final in Tunisia. Go well Big Brother.

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  2. why do sports men die of cardiac arrest? steve keshi, chaswe nsofwa, mark vivien, fabrice muamba (survived) but was clinically dead for 72 hrs. any one can die of a micardio infarction but it seems to be common to sportsmen. do they tear some heart muscles during vigorous training

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    • @john chinena phiri: Dead for “72 hrs” and survived!? My first thought was; was this guy an incarnation of Lazarus of the Bible? To compound matters, Lazarus only survived/woke up due to some Christly intervention. Anyway, glad it was only a typo and you have corrected it.

      Indeed, who can forget African football legends like Stephen Keshi (RIP), Rashidi Yekini, Uche, and all them Nigerian players of that era. These were formidable players our own soccer legends like Kalusha Bwalya tangled with on the pitch. Just to reminisce, I once in while watch the Tunisia 1994 Africa Cup finals on YouTube. The final in which Zambia almost did the IMPOSSIBLE right after the Gabon plane crash tragedy—raising an almost completely new “KK11” within months and winning the Africa Cup—only beaten…

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    • continue…

      The final in which Zambia almost did the IMPOSSIBLE right after the Gabon plane crash tragedy—raising an almost completely new “KK11” within months and winning the Africa Cup—only beaten 2-1 by Keshi captained Nigeria team. MEMORIES INDEED!

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  3. Oh No it is a month of heroic lose. RIP Keishi you entertained us and you were humble. Little did I know that 4 other players that featured against Zambia in 1994 Africa Cup of Nations had passed on Rashyidi. You remember that talling striker of the Green Eagles of Nigeria.

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  4. Life can be useless. I admired you both as a footballer and as a coach.I don’t think you will rest in peace because I will be disturbing you with my thoughts of “what a good personality” you showed us

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  5. I admired you Keshi, I watched the AFCON because of you, you were a great man. Rest in peace (if there is such a thing) but yours was a life lived in full.

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  6. RIEP Keshi. We the living should also mind our weight. Don’t keep on gaining weight. Control it.

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