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Stephen Okechukwu Keshi

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi




Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, also known simply as Stephen Keshi, was a prominent figure in Nigerian football as both a player and a manager. Born on January 23, 1962, in Azare, Bauchi State, he hailed from Illah in Delta State and was of Igbo descent. Keshi received his early education in Lagos before pursuing his passion for football.

During his playing career, Keshi distinguished himself as a skilled defender, earning 60 caps for the Nigeria national team. He represented Nigeria in prestigious tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations, where he notably captained the Super Eagles to victory in 1994. Keshi also had a successful club career, playing in various countries, including Belgium, where he won the league championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1991.

After retiring from playing, Keshi transitioned into coaching, where he found success on the international stage. He guided Togo to their first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006, a remarkable achievement in the nation's football history. Despite leaving the position before the tournament, Keshi's impact was significant.

Keshi's coaching career also saw him lead the Nigerian national team, where he made history by becoming one of only two individuals to win the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and as a coach. Under his leadership, Nigeria experienced success in various international competitions, including qualification for the FIFA World Cup and victories in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Off the field, Keshi faced personal challenges, including the loss of his wife, Kate, after her battle with cancer. Tragically, Keshi himself passed away on June 7, 2016, at the age of 54, following a heart attack. His untimely death marked the end of an era in Nigerian football, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and achievement.

Keshi's contributions to Nigerian football were commemorated by Google with a doodle on what would have been his 56th birthday, highlighting his enduring impact on the sport and the nation.


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