BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
PRESIDENT of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick led former football stars such as Uche Okechukwu, Peter Rufai and many others to Benin Thursday, where the ex-Super Eagles stars played a novelty match in honour of late coach Stephen Keshi, who was laid at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole was represented by the member representing Etsako Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr Philip Shuaibu. Other former Super Eagles players at the event include Austin Equavoen, Mutiu Adepoju and Victor Ikpeba.
Before the body of the late Coach was laid at the Stadium, a requiem Mass was held at the St Paul’s Catholic Church Benin City. Friends and family members wept profusely when the body was laid at the stadium.
Some of the players who eulogised the late coach and player, appealed to management of the country’s football to set aside personal interest for the growth of the game. Ikpeba who particularly noted that Keshi sacrificed a lot for the growth of football in Nigeria, lamented that personal interest was the major factor militating against the progress of the nation’s football.
“Keshi had done a lot for the progress and the level the game is in Nigeria today. He made a great impact in Nigeria football and promoted the sport to its highest level in the country. The void left by Keshi will be difficult to fill and I appeal to those managing football in Nigeria to set aside personal interest for the game to grow,” Ikpeba stated.
On his part, Uche Okechukwu who said he was still in shock with the demise of Keshi, said he was not happy with developments in the game in Nigeria. He called for concerted effort to be made so as to return the country to its lost glory in the game.
Similarly, Rufai described Keshi as a disciplinarian who will be missed by sport loving fans. It would be recalled that the late Super Eagles star and coach, died in Benin on. June 8. The remains of the fallen star will be interred in Ilah, his home town today.