BY JOE APU
Flying Eagles head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke and his wards have vowed to humble visiting Burundi in the second leg of the U-20 AFCON qualifier at the U J Esuene stadium in honour of former Super Eagles captain and coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.
The team according to thenff.com says it is the only way to show what the late soccer icon meant to Nigerian football.
Team captain Kelechi Nwakali could not curtail the shock, describing the news as devastating. The 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup golden ball winner said they are not happy to hear about Keshi’s demise.
“We have lost our hero, our role model and coach. Keshi’s death came to us as a rude shock but there is nothing we can do but to wish him eternal rest. We will try and beat Burundi on Saturday as our parting gift.” Striker Victor Osimhen sat to have his breakfast but found little appetite to eat.
“It is a painful loss. The Big boss was a great player I grew up to admire and love, may his soul rest in perfect peace,” he said with head bowed.
Flying Eagles coach Emmanuel Amuneke said Keshi’s loss is shocking and devastating at this time of our national life.
He said as a young man growing up, he was privileged to watch Stephen Keshi play and to also share the dressing room at some point with him. “I remembered playing alongside the big boss at the Tunisia 94 Nations Cup and the World Cup in the United States of America that same year. It was a wonderful feeling anytime we march out of the tunnel. Keshi was a true leader as a player and later as coach. We have lost a rare gem, a leader on and off the pitch he said.
Despite taking a narrow 1-0 lead against the Young Sparrows from the first leg in Bujumbura three weeks ago, courtesy of a 60th minute goal by midfielder Chukwudi Agor, Nigeria coach Emmanuel Amuneke and his charges are not taking this reverse fixture lightly.
Amuneke was full of hope while speaking to CAFonline.com ahead of the eagerly awaited contest.
“Though we won the first leg, the team we met in Bujumbura is tactically sound and we must be at our best when we play against them on Saturday. We are not going to lose focus and we must be able to take our chances unlike what happened in the first leg.