Former Super Eagles star, Austin Eguavoen has asked the Federal Government to give the late Stephen Keshi a state burial in order to honour the former Eagles’ player and coach, for all the years of ‘meritorious service he rendered to his fatherland.’
Speaking on Keshi’s death, Eguavoen, who took over from Keshi as Super Eagles’ captain after the 1995 Confederations Cup in Saudi Arabia, believes giving the former Anderlecht of Belgium star a state burial would send a signal to current footballers that Nigeria would accord them their due respect if they served the country well.
Eguavoen, who recalled how he allowed Keshi to receive the trophy after the 1994 African Nations Cup even when the late star did not play in the final match, described the former Strasbourg of France skipper’s demise as ‘a huge loss to the nation.’
“He was a leader on the pitch, he represented the coach on the pitch, he may not have been that much of a technician, but tactically he was very good and he played for a top club like Anderlecht,” Eguavoen added.
“He stood for what he believes and that may be why he had problems with the NFF.”
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, has promised that the Federal Government will immortalise the former Super Eagles’ coach.
Speaking on Keshi’s death yesterday, Dalung said: “It is with a heavy heart but gratitude to the almighty God, that I, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Federal government of Nigeria sympathize with the family of Coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi (MON) and the entire Nigerian football family over the untimely death of our amiable, dedicated and outstanding hero. I was really shocked by the news of his death.
“He was one of Nigeria’s heroes whose contributions to the development of football and Nigeria’s sports in general cannot be quantified.”
“I will formally inform the government of the death of this great Nigerian, and I want to assure Nigerians that government will seek ways to immortalize him. I join millions of soccer followers across the world to mourn this illustrious son of Nigeria, Africa and the world. I pray for the repose of his soul and that the family, especially the children he left behind will find the strength to bear this devastating loss,” Dalung said.