Photos: FIFA boss pay tribute to former super eagles coach Keshi

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Steven keshi goes beyond

Tributes have flooded in from African
football legends and FIFA for Stephen
Keshi.
The former Nigeria captain passed away in
the early hours of Wednesday in Benin at
the age of 54.

Former South Africa captain Phil Masinga;
ex-Ghana attacker Nii Odartey Lamptey;
ex-South Africa defender Neil Tovey; ex-
Zambia captain Kalusha Bwalya; and ex-
Ghana defender Mohammed Gargo said
they were devastated by Keshi’s passing.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino; South
Africa coach Shakes Mashaba; and South
African Football Association President
Danny Jordaan said they were saddened
and shocked by the death of the former
NNB captain.

“It is a big loss for the whole African
football fraternity…especially Nigeria,”
former Bafana Bafana forward, Masinga
who faced Keshi in a 1994 World Cup
qualifier in Lagos, told Goal on Thursday.
“He did so much for Nigeria as a player and
as a coach.
“I played against him in the early 90’s, we
faced Nigeria in Lagos if I remember
correctly

“He was a very good defender, a well
respected player in Nigeria…as a captain
the players had a lot of respect for him.”
Former Black Stars playmaker Lamptey,
who Keshi was accused of smuggling to
Belgium to sign for Anderlecht, told Kasapa
102.5 FM said the deceased did a lot for
him.
He said, “I stayed with him for a minimum
of six months and he fed me on a daily
basis, encouraged me and all that

“He did a lot for me. My first contract I
signed in Europe- Belgium he went with me
and signed the contract for me. What he’s
done for me I can’t pay him back. I
appreciate him a lot.”
Former Black Stars and Borussia Dortmund
defender Gargo said, “I am really surprised
to hear that Keshi is no more I cannot even
believe it.

“I am a Muslim and I believe that we will
all die one day but to think that Kesi would
be gone so soon was thinkable.”
Bwalya said he had lost his “good
brother”.

He told PowerFM “He was a funny guy and
a leader but didn’t impose himself on
people but people who spoke to him walked
away thinking ‘I have spoken to a real
man’. Stephen was a big man of Africa and
the world so my sincere condolences to his
family.”

Infantino wrote on FIFA’s website, “I
would like to express my deepest sympathy
on hearing the news of the loss of the
Nigeria great Stephen Keshi.

“On behalf of the international football
community, please allow me to extend my
deepest condolences to the football
community of Nigeria and, most
importantly, to Stephen’s family, friends
and love ones. We hope that, in some way,
our words of support may help bring a little
bit of peace and solace in this time of
sadness.”

Mashaba said, “Words cannot describe this
shocking loss. Keshi was not only a giant
of African football but was a global football
icon.”
Jordaan said by virtue of SAFA’s close
links with the Nigerian Football Federation,
his association with Keshi were equally
strong and intimate.

He told Goal, “At 54, Keshi was one of the
bright young coaches coming out of this
continent and having been a captain and
solid player during his playing days, you
can’t find a better individual whose life was
wholly dedicated to the game of football.”

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