BY John Joshua-Akanji
DEATH, according to Shakespeare, is a necessary end. It would come when it would.
Like a thief in the night, death sneaked in and stole away one of the best players to have emerged from the continent of Africa- Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.
Like a candle in the wind, Keshi’s life was snuffed out and he went the way of all mortals at the age of 54 years, six months after the demise of his wife, Kate.
Like a colossus, Keshi came, saw and conquered the world of football.
As a player with the defunct New Nigeria Bank Football Club, he established himself as the cornerstone of the team, which won everything on the domestic scene as well as the Africa sub-continent. He led a new generation of Nigerian players who rose from the back streets of Benin City to become world-class stars in Europe. He pioneered the exodus of Nigerian and African players to Europe.
His sterling leadership qualities won him the moniker, the Big Boss. He was an apostle of total football, crusader for the respect of the welfare and rights of players. His football odyssey that spanned more than three decades inspires lots of positives for the game. He, alongside Hassan Shehata of Egypt, has gone into the grave with their record of winning the Nations Cup as both player and coach.
Keshi’s achievements tower above his height. His exit marks the end of a grass to grace story of an iconic personality.