The head coach of the Nigeria U-23 team, Samson Siasia, was a sober figure at the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday as he signed the condolence registers for Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu.
“This is heartbreaking for me. I can’t say much now,” Siasia said in an NFF release.
Keshi and Amodu died last week to throw Nigeria and Africa into mourning.
Siasia played with Keshi in the Super Eagles for several years. Both men were in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad as well as the 1994 World Cup team.
Siasia was in the Eagles’ squad coached by young Amodu for the ‘Wembley Friendly’ in November 1994, and was also supervised by Amodu for the two matches against Egypt in March this year following Sunday Oliseh’s exit.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba, was also at the Glass House on Monday to commiserate with the Nigeria Football Football body on the deaths of coaches Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu.
Keshi, only the second man to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and as a coach, died in Benin City in the early hours of Wednesday, while Amodu, four-time coach of the Super Eagles, died in the same city in the early hours of Saturday.
Ogba, who was a member of the NFF Executive Committee during Amodu’s fourth stint with the Super Eagles, during which he qualified the Super Eagles for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and won the bronze medal at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, said: “Amodu’s death was a big shock to me, just as Keshi’s. Both men were institutions based on what they achieved with the Super Eagles.”
Ogba, who is also Chairman of the Ebonyi State Football Association, added: “I knew both men very well, for they were towers of excellence. It is a pity that at a time they still had so much to contribute to Nigeria football, they left us just like that.
“Death is a necessary end; it is a debt we all owe. However, we are sad because these gentlemen have died at a relatively young age, when they still had so much in them to give.”
NFF’s 2nd Vice President and LMC chairman, Mr. Shehu Dikko, was also at the Glass House to sign the condolence registers, now placed side-by-side. “It is tragic. Words are inadequate to express the grief and sense of loss that the NFF feels right now.”
Ogba had the added task of consoling former Nigeria coach James Peters, who could not back the tears on seeing the photo of his long –time friend Amodu by the condolence register at the NFF secretariat.
“I’m too shocked for words,” Peters said simply. Both men worked together at BCC Lions of Gboko, where Amodu assisted Peters before taking over from the latter. Both men have worked together on CAF coaching license programs over the years.
The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) also commiserated with the NFF on the death of Keshi. Alhaji Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, the new Director General, wrote: “He will be fondly remembered for his great contributions to the beautiful game in Nigeria which culminated in his being African champion twice, as a player and a Coach. This is a feat achieved by only one other person before him. We join the world of football in mourning such a huge loss, and pray that stakeholders, led by the NFF will do all in their power to ensure that his legacy lives on.”