Africa mourns legend Keshi

NIGERIA and Africa were yesterday in mourning after  the death of one of that country’s  biggest sporting heroes, former Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi, 54, who died on Tuesday.

Keshi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations as player and coach, died in Benin City, Nigeria, after a suspected heart attack.

The former RSC Anderlecht of Belgium defender has been out of contract after being fired as Green Eagles coach but was on the radar of a number of African clubs and countries and was reportedly on his way to South Africa Premier League soccer side Orlando Pirates before his demise.

One of his finest moments was leading Nigeria to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph as well as being captain of the winning side in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations squad.

A source close to the former Togo coach told that Keshi was ‘‘hale and hearty’’ when they spoke on Monday but was equally shocked at the tragic news. ‘‘We spoke on Monday, he sounded hale and hearty to me but I must say I’m truly shocked. I’m numb right now.

“I can’t speak right now. I’m numb,” the source added.

Keshi made his Nigeria début as a 21-year-old in 1981 and went on to play for clubs like NNB, Stella Abidjan, Anderlecht of Belgium and Strasbourg of France among others.

He played 64 times for Nigeria, scoring nine goals. –