Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:26 pm
Burial activities of the late coach of the senior national team, the Super Eagles, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, began on Thursday in with a funeral mass held at St. Paul Catholic Church, Airport road in Benin, Edo State.
His remains were brought to the church in a black Mercedes-Benz ambulance, acompanied by his children, family members and friends.
In his homily, the officiating priest, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Ofere, said that Keshi lived an exemplary live as a member of the parish, where he contributed selflessly to the development of football, adding that the late football icon was always willing to serve, even in the midst of scarce resources.
Ofere who harped on the need to believe in the resurrection, noted that death was not the end of the life of a true Christian.
He stressed that righteousness and true worship of God were prerequisites for Christians who desire to see God.
Following the church service was a novelty football match organised in honour of the late Nigeria international, at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin.
His body arrived at the stadium at about 11:50 am, accompanied by his children and other family members, and was received by President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, Chairman of Edo State Football Association, Frank Ilaboya, Hon. Philip Shaibu, a member of the Federal House of Representatives and others.
Pinnick who led the NFF deligation to the ceremony, described Keshi as a “super hero” who was renowned for doing the extraordinary.
“I have always described him as a super hero because he was a super hero. He did not do things that were regular he did things that were extraordinary,” he said.
The NFF President disclosed that the Federation would honour the late football icon, adding, “That (honour) is definitely going to be done.”
The novelty match between ex-internationals and all stars, ended in 1:1 draw.
Among the late Keshi’s team mates on the pitch were Austin Eguavonen, Uche ookechukwu (aka Gentle Giant), Mutiu Adepoju, Victor Ikpeba, Peter Rufai and others.
His body was later moved to Asaba, the Delta State Capital, for a lying-in-state and tributes at the indoor hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
It would be recalled that Keshi died in the night of June 7 in Benin at the age of 54. He was one of the only two to have won the African Cup of Nations both as player and as coach in 1994 and 2013.