One of the most iconic captains of the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, and former coach of the team, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, is dead, TheCable newspaper has reported.
According to the paper, the death of the former international was confirmed by his relatives and close associates.
Mr. Keshi had lost his wife of 33 years, Kate, to cancer last year.
“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” TheCable quoted one of his friends, whose name was not given, as saying.
Mr Keshi, popularly called the Big Boss, is the only Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations.
He also became the second person in history to win the competition as a player and as a coach after Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt when he led the Super Eagles to win the tournament in 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He rose to national prominence when debuted for the Super Eagles in 1981 at age 20. The late Central Defender withdrew from the national team in 1994. He had 64 caps and scored nine goals.
As coach, he qualified an unlikely Togolese national team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany but was sacked and replaced with German Otto Pfister, just before the tournament.
He however, achieved his dream to manage a team at the World Cup when he coached the Super Eagles side to the tournament in 2014.
He is the fifth member of the glorious 1994 Super Eagles team to die, after Uche Okafor, Thompson Oliha, Rashidi Yekini and Wilfred Agbonavbare.
He is survived by four children and his mother.
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