The mood at the Tinapa resort, camp base of the Flying Eagles in Calabar was one of soberness and sorrow as players and officials woke up Wednesday morning to hear of the sad news of Stephen Keshi’s death. They gathered in group to discuss the sad news, reflecting more on his hay days as Super Eagles captain and coach.
Team captain Kelechi Nwakali could not curtail the shock, describing the news as devastating. The 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup golden ball winner said they are not happy to hear about Keshi’s demise.
” We have lost our hero, our role model and Coach Keshi’s death came to us as a rude shock but there is Nothing we can do but to wish him eternal rest. We will try and beat Burundi on Saturday as our parting gift.”
Striker Victor Osimhen sat to have his breakfast but found little appetite to eat.
“It is a painful loss he said, the Big boss was a great player I grew up to admire and love, may his soul rest in perfect peace he said with head bowed”.
Flying Eagles coach Emmanuel Amuneke said Keshi’s loss is shocking and devastating at this time of our National life.
He said as a young man growing up, he was privileged to watch Stephen Keshi play and to also share the dressing room at some point with him. ” I remembered playing alongside the big boss at the Tunisia 94 Nations Cup and the World Cup in the United States of America that same year. It was a wonderful feeling anytime we march out of the tunnel. Keshi was a true leader as a player and later as coach. We have lost a rare gem, a leader on and off the pitch he said.
Flying Eagles goalkeeper trainer Emeka Amadi also extolled the great virtues of Stephen Keshi, describing him as one of the best footballer to have played the game for this country. He said Keshi was an inspiration to many young players and his death came as a rude shock” . As a mark of honour, the Flying Eagles will be wearing a black hand band in Wednesday’s friendly match with Unicem Rover’s and on Saturday against the young swallows of Burundi, in honour of a fallen hero Amuneke said.
Stephen Keshi played and coached the Super Eagles during an illustrious career that spanned over three decades. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.