Google has honoured former Nigerian coach and player, Stephen Keshi, with a doodle on its search engine page for Nigerian loggers.
The honour came on Keshi’s 56th birthday. Keshi died suddenly in Benin on 7 June, in 2016, to the shock of his compatriots.
He was born in Azare, Bauchi. But his parents hailed from Delta state.
Keshi was educated at Saint Finbarr’s College in Akoka, Lagos and Saint Gregory’s College.
His wife of 30 years, Kate Aburime had died six months before his own death. They had four children.
During his playing career as a defender, 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.
He represented the country at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations, captaining the Super Eagles to victory in the latter. He also played club football in five countries, most notably Belgium, where he won the Belgian league championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1991.
As a manager, Keshi achieved success by qualifying Togo for the only FIFA World Cup appearance in its history in 2006.
However, he left the position prior to the tournament and was replaced by Otto Pfister. He later coached Nigeria’s Super Eagles , where he became one of only two persons, along with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach. This was in 2013, two years after he was appointed the coach.
The following day Keshi handed in his resignation, only to reverse his decision the day after. Keshi led Nigeria to the 2013 Confederations Cup, defeated Tahiti 6–1, and lost 1–2 to Uruguay in the second game, and also lost 0–3 to World Cup winners, Spain in their final group game.
On 16 November 2013, Keshi’s Nigeria secured qualification to the 2014 World Cup by beating Ethiopia 4–1 on aggregate in a play-off.
Keshi set a record in African football by being the first African coach to successfully qualify two African nations (Nigeria and Togo) to the World Cup Finals.