Sierra Leone Football Association, SLFA, on Wednesday, paid tribute to the late Nigerian Legend, former Togo and Mali coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.

Stephen Keshi

The Nigeria legend who passed away aged 54 was one of African football’s finest and best-known figures and had three spells in charge of the Super Eagles.

The world is mourning the Super Eagles legend demise. The news was confirmed by the Nigeria Football Association on Wednesday morning.
The Former Nigeria captain and Togo’s national team manager Stephen Keshi died from a suspected cardiac arrest.

The SLFA President Isha Johansen took to twitter to describe the Keshi demise as shock and sad. “Rest in Peace Keshi. Shock and sad loss to African football family.”

On the SLFA’s official Facebook page, she noted: “A great soul has departed, but the memories shall never fade. Your loss is huge, and I can only share your pain. Keep faith and courage. I am sorry for your loss. May his departed soul rest in perfect peace.”

Sierra Leone caretaker Ghanaian coach Sellas Tetteh concurred “You had a distinguished career as a player and as a Coach. You set a lasting landmark discharging your noble duties. You printed your name with excellence everywhere you had the opportunity.

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Keshi began his managerial career with Togo in 2004 and would have three stints with the Sparrow Hawks during which he led them to a surprise qualification for the 2006 World Cup. He had a two-year spell with Mali before landing the Super Eagles job in 2011.

During his playing career, Keshi lifted the Nations Cup with the Super Eagles in 1994 and then went on to coach his Nigeria in three spells, which included a last-16 finish in the 2014 World Cup.

After winning 64 Nigeria caps as a central defender between 1981-95, Keshi had three stints in charge of Togo before taking over as Nigeria coach in 2011. He also coached Mali between 2008-10.

He led Nigeria to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title, defeating Burkina Faso in the final in South Africa before guiding them to the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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During his 20-year playing career, he had spells at Belgian side Anderlecht, plus stints in France, the United States and Malaysia. He won 64 caps for his country at centre-back between 1981 and 1995, scoring nine goals.

Keshi’s contract with Nigeria was not renewed after the 2014 World Cup, despite a strong showing where the Super Eagles lost in the second round to France. Keshi’s wife Kate passed away last December after a three-year battle with cancer. Keshi is survived by their four children. [Football Sierra Leone]