Intrigues and suspense loom as the death of the former Super Eagles coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi who died on June 8, coincided with that of the former military head of state late General Sani Abacha.
One may begin to wonder why these significant similarities, and relationship.
Barely 18 years General Sani Abacha died on June 8, 1998 in Aso Rock Nigeria, Super Eagles former captain died on the same date June 8, but in the year 2016. Shockingly, while the late dictator died at the age of 54 in 1998, the former Super Eagles handler died at the same age 54 in the year 2016.
Sport Intelligence gathered from research and facts that the relationship in Stephen Okechukwu Keshi’s death on June 8, which coincided with that of the former military dictator is interesting, as both also shared interesting moments in the second Africa Cup of nations that was won by Nigeria in 1994.
A few hours to the final match of the Tunisia 1994 African cup of nations, where the Stephen Keshi captain squad defeated the Chipolopolo of Zambia by 2-1 to lift the African Cup of nations for the second time,Abacha had a live phone-chat from Aso Rock with the 22 players in Tunisia. While speaking with the “Big Boss” as the captain of the team, he instructed the former Super Eagles captain to ensure that he brings the trophy to Nigeria, and that he (Abacha) will be waiting to receive the trophy.
Super Eagles captain Stephen Okechukwu Keshi obeyed the orders, as he lifted the trophy after 90 minutes of play and brought it to Aso Rock in Abuja as instructed. Upon receiving the trophy, the late former military head of state made promises to Keshi and the team that he did not live to fulfill as he died on June 8 1998, barely four years after the trophy was handed to him.
Unfortunately, Abacha killed the efforts made by the Keshi’s captain squad in 1996, when he stopped the Super Eagles from participating in the South Africa 1996 Africa Cup of nations as defending champions. Leading to Nigeria’s ban in 1998.
Despite Abacha’s effort to frustrate the development of football in Nigeria, Stephen Keshi made practical efforts to keep develop it as he led the Super Eagles team as a coach 15 years after the death of the former military head of state to win the trophy in 2013, becoming the first Nigerian to win the title both as player and coach in 2015.
Coincidentally, he died on same date with the former military head of state.