Stephen Keshi has died aged 55 years old

Stephen Keshi has died after suffering from a cardiac arrest. He was aged 55 years old. Stephen Keshi was a Nigerian former footballer and football coach who famously led the Nigerian Senior Men’s Football Team (Super Eagles) to African glory in the 2013 edition of the CAF African Cup of Nations held in South Africa. Google+

Nigeria's soccer head coach Stephen Keshi listens to a question during a news conference in Rustenburg, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. On Sunday Nigeria will face Ivory Coast in a African Cup of Nations quarterfinal match. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Nigeria’s soccer head coach Stephen Keshi listens to a question during a news conference in Rustenburg, South Africa, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. On Sunday Nigeria will face Ivory Coast in a African Cup of Nations quarterfinal match. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

He was born Stephen Okechukwu Keshi January 3, 1961 in Azare, Bauchi State, Nigeria and died on June 7, 2016 in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Some reports have suggested that he died on June 8, 2016 and that he was aged 54 years old.

At the height of his career Stephen Keshi played for Belgium’s most successful football club, Anderlecht, between 1987 and 1991. During his time at Anderlecht he won one league title and two Belgian Cup trophies. He had previously played for another Belgian side, Lokeren, which later became a popular destination for African players.

Stephen Keshi earned  64 caps for the Nigerian Senior Men’s Football Team (Super Eagles) and won the 1994 CAF Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles, although injury prevented him from playing in the final against Zambia.

He has been a part of the coaching staff for the Nigerian national team, most notably as head coach for the Junior Eagles at the 2001 African Youth Championship which also served as qualification for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, without success.

Between 2004 and 2006 Keshi coached the Togo national football team, surprisingly bringing them to their first World Cup tournament, Germany 2006. Having secured Togo’s unlikely qualification, he was promptly replaced by German coach Otto Pfister prior to the World Cup finals, after Togo showed a dismal performance and failed to advance to the knock-out stage in 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Keshi became coach of the Nigerian Senior Men’s Football Team in 2011. He led the Super Eagles to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which they went on to win, defeating Burkina Faso 1–0 in the final at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Stephen Keshi is the only African to win the Confederation of African Football’s Coach of the year twice – in 2005 with Togo and 2013 with Nigeria.

He led Nigeria to the 2013 Confederations Cup, defeated Tahiti 6–1, and lost 1–2 to Uruguay in the second game, and also lost 0–3 to World Cup winners, Spain in their final group game. On 16 November 2013, Stephen Keshi’s Nigeria secured qualification to the 2014 World Cup by beating Ethiopia 4–1 on aggregate in a play-off.

On 18 November 2013, Stephen Keshi set a record in African football by being the first African coach to successfully qualify two African nations (Nigeria and Togo) to the World Cup Finals. He also helped Nigeria become the first country to achieve an African Cup of Nations trophy and World Cup qualification, both in 2013.

The following day after winning the 2013 CAF African Cup of Nations Stephen Keshi handed in his resignation only to reverse his decision the day after. Following Nigeria’s exit from the World Cup, Stephen Keshi’s contract with the Nigerian Football Federation expired and was not renewed. A few months later it took the intervention of then-Nigeria president Goodluck Jonathan to ensure Keshi remained in charge of the Super Eagles.

His time in charge eventually came to an end in July 2015 when he was fired amid rumours he had applied to be Ivory Coast coach. Stephen Keshi did not get that post and did not work as a coach again before his untimely death although he had once again begun looking for work.

Stephen Keshi lost his wife, Kate (née Aburime), of 30 years to cancer on 10 December 2015. The pair had four children.

He was reported to have started talks with South African club Orlando Pirates as well as the Guinea national team.

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