Born January 23, 1962, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi or ‘Big Boss’ as he was fondly called, was one of the greatest icons to have graced the length and breadth of the Nigerian Football scene, in dual positions as a Player and captain of the Super Eagle’s team in 1994, and much later as a coach of the Nigerian National team in 2011.
On the 23rd of January, 2018, Google made an honorary doodle on the search giant’s homepage honouring the fallen football hero, Stephen Keshi, depicting his most notable wins. The date also coincided with what would have been his 56th birthday. Back in 2017 also, Google put up a doodle honouring Late Chinua Achebe, the renowned Father of Modern African Literature, commemorating his 87th birthday.
On the Google doodle marking Stephen Keshi’s achievements, Google tries to depict him in his 2 roles as a successful player and a remarkable coach. He can be seen wearing the Nigerian No. 4 jersey as a defender, and a face cap depicting his role as captain of the Nigerian Super Eagles, and Coach of the team. The image also shows two medals with the inscriptions ’94 and ’13 on them, apparently pointing to his achievements in 1994 Africa Cup of Nations as a player and as a coach in 2013.
Stephen Keshi’s life as a footballer was hallmarked by several notable grandiose achievements that set him in a very comfortable place in Nigeria’s football hall of fame. During his career as a player, Stephen Keshi earned 60 caps for the Nigerian national football team, making him the nation’s second-most capped player at the time of his retirement. However, he is currently the 9th most capped player, with Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo leading the chart with 101 caps each.
As a manager and coach, Keshi qualified the Togolese football team for their first World Cup tournament in Germany 2006. In 2013 also, Keshi secured Nigeria’s qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, becoming only the second person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach after Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt. In 1994, Keshi led the Super Eagles as captain to both the FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations, where he brought back the trophy in the latter. Internationally, Keshi played in about 5 countries, and allegedly won the Belgian league championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1991, while playing in Belgium.
Keshi suffered a heartache and died on June 8, 2016, at Benin City at the age of 54, and was buried in his hometown, Illah, Delta State.
Long Live Big Boss!