Ex-Super Eagles skipper and coach, Stephen Keshi, would have clocked 55 on Monday.
The Big Boss as he is fondly called sadly passed away about seven months ago in Benin City, Edo State.
Although they were not on good terms at the time of his death, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) remembered the fallen hero’s birthday in a Twitter message.
— The NFF (@thenff) January 23, 2017
It is a well-known fact that the former Lokeren of Belgium defender is only the second African and the sole Nigerian to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and coach.
But there are still a whole lot more about the man that so many people do not know about.
To celebrate the life of this legendary Nigerian, we highlight five of them.
- Keshi’s wife, Kate, was his lawyer for 30 years
Unknown to a lot of people, Keshi’s late wife, Kate, was his lawyer for all of the time that they were married. Kate, who studied law at the University of Benin in the 1980’s, served as her husband’s attorney until her demise in December 2015. She oversaw all the professional contracts the Big Boss signed during their time as man and wife on earth, as well as the properties they acquired over time.
- Wife’s death may have contributed to his demise
Keshi never really got over the death of his wife due to their closeness – no wonder he passed on barely six months after her.
“Stephen Keshi couldn’t be separated from his wife. They were inseparable, and he has gone to join her,” his brother-in-law, Emma Ado, told Vanguard.
- He almost quit professional football in Europe
Keshi was frustrated in Belgium after sealing a move from Cote d’Ivoire. As Nigeria skipper and a star on the continent, he demanded more respect from his club, Lokeren, but instead was benched.
He said: “Some months after I arrived Belgium from Ivory Coast, I was almost heading back to Africa. I made up my mind to return to Africa where I was a star. I was already packing my things. I knew what my performance was in training, but they were not giving me a chance to play.”
- Captained all the clubs he played for
Keshi played for clubs in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Belgium, France, India and the United States, and captained all of them at some point. Right from his youthful days, he had been known for his leadership qualities, little wonder he was nicknamed the Big Boss.
- Nigeria’s longest-serving captain
The former Strasbourg of France defender was named captain of the then Green Eagles shortly before the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984 by Coach Adegboye Onigbinde. He remained in that role as captain for over 11 years until he quit international football in 1995. No other player has captained the Nigeria senior men’s team for that long till date.