Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, a former coach of the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, is dead.
The Cable reports that the football legend died in the early hours of Wednesday, June 8, in Benin City, Edo state.
The sudden demise of the former international was confirmed by his relatives and close associates.
“He was not ill at all, never showed any signs of illness, but we suspect he never got over the death of his wife,” one of his close friends said.
The Nigeria Football Federation also confirmed the tragic news on its official Twitter handle.
Former Nigeria Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi, is dead. Reports say the legend died in the early hours of Wednesday, RIP Big Boss.— The NFF (@thenff) June 8, 2016
He is survived by four children and his mother.
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.
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.