#OneNGWeekly(episode 19): LifeHistory Of Stephen Keshi (Big Boss)

Stephen Keshi

Life and Career

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, popularly known as the Big Boss was born on January 23, 1962, in Azare, Bauchi state, Nigeria. He was a football manager of
the Nigerian national football team the Super Eagles up until October 16, 2014. The former football defender started managing the Nigeria national
team in 2011.

Keshi, the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations, achieved a rare feat in 2013 by becoming only the second person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach. The only other person to have achieved the feat is Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary. Keshi, a product of St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos, started his playing career at a very young age at ACB Football Club, and later played for New
Nigeria Bank, Stade d’Abidjan, Africa Sports, Lokeren, Anderlecht, RC Strasbourg, and a host of other clubs.

Head coach Stephen Keshi of Nigeria during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations 3rd Quarter Final match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on February 03, 2013 IN Rustenburg, South Africa
He represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994, most of the time captaining the Super Eagles and scoring vital goals from his position as a central defender. He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali. Keshi, nicknamed the “Big Boss” for his leadership skills, is the fifth member of the all-conquering 1994 team to die, following Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare. 

Coaching Career: 

After a playing career mostly with Belgian clubs, Keshi went to the United States to be educated in coaching.

In 1996 he was joined by Augustine Eguavoen, who once coached the Nigerian national team. 
They played together in California as the backbone of the defence for the short-lived Sacramento Scorpions. Keshi 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 Togonational 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. However, Pfister did not last beyond a controversial World Cup campaign that nearly resulted in a player’s strike over pay and Togo remained without a manager until February 2007 when they re-engaged Keshi in time for a friendly against Cameroon. He worked as manager of the Mali national football team, after being appointed in April 2008 on a two- year deal. Keshi was sacked in January 2010, after Mali’s early exit in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. Keshi became coach of the Nigerian National Team

in 2011. He led Nigeria to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which they went on to win, defeating Burkina Faso 1–0 in the final. The following day Keshi handed in his resignation, only to reverse his decision the day after. Keshi 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, 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. On 25 June 2014, Keshi’s Nigeria progressed to the knockout stage of 2014 World Cup. They started the tournament with a 0-0 draw against Iran, followed by a controversial 1-0 win over

Bosnia and Herzegovina. They lost the final group stage match 2-3 against Argentina, but progressed to the knockout stage, courtesy of a 3-1 win by Bosnia and Herzegovina over Iran. On 30 June 2014, the Super Eagles lost to France in a 2014 World Cup Round of 16 match. After the match, Keshi announced his resignation as Super
Eagles coach but later reversed the decision after the Nigerian Football Federation renewed his contract.

On 14 October 2014, his team failed to win a single game in the ongoing Morocco 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying series and he announced he would move to another job if pressure continues to mount because of certain people, whom he refused to name, were trying to “sabotage” him. However, he stated that he will continue to coach the Super Eagles because he loves the team and he loves his country. In July 2015, following Nigeria’s exit from the World Cup, Keshi’s contract with the Nigerian
Football Federation expired and was not renewed. A statement by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Executive Committee said the decision was made, having thoroughly reviewed the reports/ findings of the NFF Disciplinary Committee and NFF Technical and Development Committee, as well as having reviewed the actions and inaction of
Stephen Keshi, in the performance of his duties as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, which NFF found to lack the required commitment to achieve the
Federation’s objectives as set out in the Coach’s employment contract.

Football Career:

ACB Lagos – 1979 (Appearances 10) (goal 1)
New Nigeria Bank – 1980–1984 (Appearances 42)
(Goals 4)
Stade d’Abidjan – 1980–1984 (Appearances 13)
(Goals 2)
Africa Sports – 1985 (Appearances 22) (Goals 2)
Lokeren – 1986–1987 (Appearances 28) (Goals 6)
Anderlecht – 1987–1991 (Appearances 99) (Goals
RC Strasbourg – 1991–1993 (Appearances 62)
(Goals 9)
RWDM – 1993–1994 (Appearances 40) (Goals 1)
CCV Hydra – 1995 (Appearances 20) (Goals 1)
Sacramento Scorpions – 1996 (Appearances 16)
(Goals 3)
Perlis FA – 1997–1998 (Appearances 34) (Goals 4)

His Death

“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” a friend said. Stephen Keshi lost his wife of 33 years to cancer last December. He was 54 before his death and survived by his aged mother and four children

Source: Wikipedia, NigerianBiography, InsiderTelegraph,WikiNg

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