AFCON winning captain
5 great moments of Stephen Keshi’s career
Pulse Sports writer Thomas Freeman Yeboah has dug deep into the archives to recall 5 great moments of the former Super Green Eagles player and coach, following his death.
Stephen Keshi was the skipper of the Super Eagles when they won their second African Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 1994. Although he was in the twilight of his career, his motivation to the young ones helped them rule Africa for the first time since 1980. His leadership qualities influenced the decision of Clemens Westerhof, the Dutch trainer to select him for the tournament despite being unattached at the time.
Stephen Keshi and Abedi Pele’s rivalry
The defender who used to give the maestro Abedi Pele, a torrid time was Stephen Keshi. He was mostly deployed to give the three-time African footballer of the year close marking in Ghana-Nigerian games. Whenever Abedi was not available in Ghana game, Keshi would move into attack to support the team in their quest to win the bragging rights in the all-West African derby. Simply because there is no Abedi threat.
Qualifying Togo to maiden World Cup
Stephen Keshi is a cult hero in Togo for the feat he chalked by qualifying the Hawks of Togo to their first and only FIFA World Cup in 2006. Nigeria at the time didn’t have confidence in their own. Like what Jesus Christ said in the bible that no prophet is revered by his own people, West African neighbours, Togo gave him the mantle and he lived up to the billing by topping a group that had the likes of Senegal, Zambia, Mali, Congo and Liberia. Ironically Nigeria failed to qualify for the mundial for the first time since 1990.
First indigene to win AFCON for Nigeria as coach
In 2012 Stephen Keshi became the first indigene to propel Nigeria to an African Cup glory. It happened at a time Nigerian football had taken a nosedive. No one expected the Super Green Eagles to do well in the tourney staged in South Africa, after the team had failed to glitter in past four (4) campaigns. They had been written off, but they sent a clear message to the whole of Africa and the football world that they were up to the task when they knocked out overwhelming favourites Ivory Coast, following their qualification from a tough group that had the defending champions, Zambia, before beating Burkina Faso in the final to win their first AFCON since 1980. The man who made it happen was no other person than Stephen Keshi, born and bred in Nigeria by Nigerian parents. In 1980, a Brazilian trainer called Otto Gloria masterminded the host and win for Nigeria. When they defeated Cameroon in the final and in 1994 it was a Dutch man Clemens Westerhof, who propelled the Nigerians to victory, but Stephen Keshi would forever remains as the first Nigerian to win the African Cup of Nations.
Second person to win AFCON as player and coach
There are so many greats in the anal of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The likes of C.K Gyamfi and Hassan Shehatta, who both won the African Cup of Nations on three occasions. Ahmed Hassan is the only person to win the AFCON as captain on three occasions, while Samuel Eto’o is the all-time top scorer in the competition’s history. Stephen Keshi, who is affectionately called ‘the Boss’ in football cycles due to his excellent attributes as a leader has his own share of the enviable history makers of the most prestigious competition on the African continent. He is one of the two persons to win the African Cup of Nations as a player and as a coach, a feat he shares with the Egyptian Mamoud El Gohary. He did it as a player in 1994 and as coach in 2013.
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