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Complete Football Edition 1

  • Text
  • Nigeria
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  • August
  • Nigerian
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  • Eagles

KESHI & AMODU: UNITED IN

KESHI & AMODU: UNITED IN LIFE AND DEATH “This is rather dramatic, that two coaches, who worked together at certain periods, lived together in the same city, died at the same period within a few days interval; really curious and instructive” - Nseabasi Ekpo, football fan on social media Words: KAYODE OGUNDARE The above was a summary of the general feeling amongst the millions of football fans who not felt a sense of loss at the sudden death of former Super Eagles of Nigeria coaches Stephen Keshi but were overwhelmed by the sudden departure of Shuaibu Amodu few hours after he had gone to sign the condolence register in honour of his former assistant. For those who believe, there's mysticism and mystery to the life and deaths of Keshi 34 COMPLETE FOOTBALL and Amodu. The duo seemed conjoined by fate as their paths crossed several times in lifetimes filled with amazing records in their chosen careers. Born four years apart, both natives of the old Bendel state, they first worked together in the run-up to the 2002 African Nations Cup in Mali where the Super Eagles came third. The inability to win the AFCON, coupled with some internal disputes and players' unrest, led to the sack of the coaching crew even after they'd qualified for the World Cup slated for Japan/Korea later that year. It was Amodu's second time of handling the Eagles – after first taking charge in 1994 – but it took him six years before he got another shot at the job when he was re-appointed manager after Nigeria failed to go past the quarter-finals at the AFCON in Ghana in 2008 under the German Berti Vogts. Meanwhile Keshi was already on his second stint as the coach of Togo whom

Former Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi signing the condolence register at Keshi’s residence KESHI'S BITS Keshi named the 1994 AFCON win as well as helping Nigeria to qualify for a first World Cup as two of his best football moments. He is the first and only Nigerian coach to win African Cup of Nations. Keshi remains the Super Eagles longest serving captain after he led the team from 1984 to 1994. Keshi was the first BLACK coach to make it from a group stage at the World Cup. Mahieddine Khalef and Rachid Mekhloufi guided Algeria to the second round of the 1982 World Cup. Stephen 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 2014 and 2006 respectively. Outside football, Keshi reckoned he would have been a salesman because he loved interacting and helping people. He sold insurance in the US after his playing career. Apart from being a poor cook – one of the few things he sucked at – Keshi did not have a favourite meal. He said once in an interview: “I do not have a favourite dish. Any well-prepared meal is okay by me.” Former Nigeria captain, Christian Chukwu as well as former England and Germany skippers, Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer were Keshi's role models in his playing days. Keshi’s final resting place AMODU'S BITS Amodu was born 18 April, 1958 in present day Edo State. As a striker, he played for Dumez and Niger Tornadoes. His playing career ended after he broke his leg. Amodu caught national attention when he led BBC Lions to win the FA Cup in 1989, thus breaking the 53-year old jinx against teams from northern Nigeria. He also led the Lions to win the African Cup Winners Cup in 1990 – the third Nigerian clubside to do so after 3SC and Rangers International in 1976 and '77 respectively – and narrowly missed retaining the title in 1991 after losing to Power Dynamos of Zambia. He became the first indigenous coach to qualify Nigeria for the FIFA World Cup when he took over from Johanes Bonfrere enroute the 2002 World Cup and successfully won the ticket. Amodu was also in charge when 3SC went all the way to the CAF Champions Cup in 1996 before losing to Zamalek of Egypt. He was the first coach to lead Nigeria to the FIFA Confederations Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1995. Keshi became the second man when he led the Super Eagles to Brazil in 2013. Amodu also managed El Kanemi Warriors, Sharks F.C and Orlando Pirates of South Africa. Amodu’s corpse before burial COMPLETE FOOTBALL 35

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