The family of the late Stephen Keshi has responded to the amazing outpouring of grief that followed the football icon’s surprising death early last week.
Speaking from Atlanta Georgia, Stephen Keshi Junior spoke on behalf of the family.
“We’re still mourning our father, we’re still shocked and confused.
Words can’t describe our feelings right now, but we want to remain joyful, remain happy, because he was a joyful and happy person.
For us what helps is our parents are together now; they were together on earth for 33 years. It soothes us that they are together in heaven,” said he.
“He was our loving father, widower, grandfather, brother, friend, pioneer, mentor and hero.
Our father was a joyful person, he hated sadness with a passion.
We are grateful for all the love, support and condolence from everyone on the loss of such an iconic African.
“We appreciate all the phone calls, texts, messages and posts on social media. It is not easy to lose both parents within a 6-month period.
It is important to know that you have been there for us before and will be there for us going forward. Keshi with his late wife Kate.
Keshi with his late wife Kate. “Stephen Keshi was a just man, who believed and championed the cause of every teammate when he played the game and every player when he was a coach. He served his nation and people with pride and joy. He always had a smile on his face whenever he did it. “
“His illustrious football career took him outside of Nigeria to Ivory Coast first, before he made the trip to Europe; a trip footballer’s make today and he was one of the first to embark on such journey. Our father was a man of the people; he welcomed everyone with open arms as a player and even more as a manager when he was with Togo, Mali and most recently the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“As we mourn the loss of a great man, we want everyone to join us in celebrating his remarkable life and even though it was taken away from us quicker than expected, we hope his life serves as a great example, his experience and how he fought for what was right is seen by younger generations as something to aspire to. “
“We will keep you updated on where and when the wake keeping in California and Georgia will be as well as information about the burial in Nigeria.
Let us celebrate and honour Stephen Keshi, celebrate his example to serve his country, honour his accomplishments as a player, father and coach, remember the smile and energetic laughter he had that brightened every room he walked into.
“ Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, was the former captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, who led Nigeria to it’s debut FIFA World Cup in 1994 and was the second man to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and manager.
He died in Benin on Wednesday. He was 54