By Solomon Nwoke
Barely a week the sports world was thrown into mourning over the death of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, death yet again dealt another blow, this time, on one of Nigeria’s and indeed, Africa’s finest footballer, former Super Eagles Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi who passed on at the wee hours of yesterday. Reacting to the sad news yesterday many football administrators said he was a great loss to Nigerian football.
Alhaji Galadima said: “ Nigeria and indeed African football has lost somebody who had given so much to the game of football. He did so much for Nigerian football even though he disagreed with the NFF of late, but that cannot erase his track record.
“We were so close even before he took the job of coaching the Eagles and after he left. His death is a sad news and I think it was as a result of the shock of his wife’s death.
Nigerian football must certainly miss him. He was somebody who stood himself out from the rest in the game of football in the country. The NFF and the federal government should immortalise him”.
Sani Toro: “ Keshi’s death is very sad. Keshi had done well for the country, winning the AFCON trophy as a player and as a coach. Government has to do something at this time to ensure that he is given a befitting burial. The NFF has to start work immediately. The NFF president, Amaju Pinnick and his board members must go his family to console them. I am really devastated by his death. I recall when we went Tunisia ’94 for AFCON he was then the captain and very controversial.
His death is a big loss. May his soul rest in peace. Amen!
Kashimawo Laloko: “It’s a very sad news. I have known Keshi right from his school days at Saint Finbarrs College in Lagos as his teacher and as his coach during the hay days of the Principals’ Cup in 1979. I hope the NFF would try and appreciate him because if they wait on the federal government to say do it, it may never happen. We have to live for Keshi. He was a hero and we have to treat him like a hero.
“I wish the family of Keshi very well. It’s the children that we have to look after now. Those children are now ophans and we have to take care of them. What can I say, it’s a pity it has happened and we have to accept it like that. Keshi had served us and we have to mourn him and make sure we take care of his last child. Death is an expected end that must come, we hand over everything to God”.
Aminu Maigari: “ It’s a shocking news. It’s unfortunate that we are talking about Keshi’s death this morning (yesterday). His death is a rude shock to me when I got the news at about 5 am. His death is a great loss to the football family and indeed to Nigerians at large.
He was a very good coach and it was during my time as the NFF president that I approached him to take over the coaching of the Super Eagles and he did very well. We put our heads together to bring the AFCON trophy to Nigeria and from there to the World Cup in Brazil. I enjoyed every bit of my relationship with him. He was a very nice coach, very tolerant, dedicated and very competent in his job. It’s quite unfortunate that we have lost him.
“Keshi will forever remain in our memory because there’s no way that we’ll talk about Nigerian football today that we’ll not talk about him. And as for the children he left behind, the NFF and federal government should come up with something to ensure that they don’t suffer”.