Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the news of the sudden death of a former captain and coach of the Super Eagles, Mr Stephen Keshi, saddens the Nation.
Mr Keshi died on Wednesday after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
In a tribute to the late coach contained in a statement, Professor Osinbajo said: “As captain and coach of our national football team, his service, dedication and achievements, including lifting the African Nations Cup both as a player and then as a coach, remain a great testament to the value of hard work”.
He pointed out that his personal triumphs and pursuits as a world-class professional footballer inspired many young talented sportsmen and women around Africa to strive for excellence.
The statement further said: “His great work with our youth and senior national teams unified our country and brought joy to many compatriots. His feats within and outside the country, are a rich legacy, which will continue to live on in our hearts.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Nigeria, I commiserate with the family of Mr Stephen Keshi on this tragic loss.
“Our thoughts are with his children at this time of sadness especially so soon after the loss of their mother. We send our deepest condolences to them and also to the countless friends he made in a lifetime of service.
“We pray that God grants the family the fortitude to bear the loss”.
Meanwhile, the Honourable Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, has assured Nigerians that government would seek ways to immortalize the late coach.
He expressed shock and sadness over the sudden passage of Mr Keshi, saying that the news of his death came to him as a big surprise, as the former coach was neither sick nor had any health issues before his demise.
“It is with a heavy heart but gratitude to the almighty God, that I, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Federal government of Nigeria sympathize with the family of Coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi (MON) and the entire Nigerian football family over the untimely death of our amiable, dedicated and outstanding hero.
“I was really shocked by the news of his death. He was one of Nigeria’s heroes whose contributions to the development of football and Nigeria’s sports in general cannot be quantified,” Dalung said.