By Adeboye Amosu:
Former member, technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, John Mastoroudes, has advised African footballers to learn from the positive impact Stephen Keshi had on the game during his life time, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Former Super Eagles coach and captain Keshi died on Wednesday at the age of 54.
The ‘Big Boss’ was one of the only two men to win the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and coach.
Keshi captained Nigeria to AFCON glory in Tunisia in 1994, their first on away soil, and was the head coach when the Super Eagles won their third title three years ago in South Africa.
Greek-born football administrator Mastoroudes told Completesportsnigeria.com that the late Keshi who also managed Togo and Mali national teams during his coaching career is worth emulating by every aspiring African footballer and the current stars.
“The late Stephen Keshi is someone that can be described as the forerunner for African footballers in Europe, a hero worth emulating by every African footballer,” Mastoroudes told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“He was the ‘real boss’ on the field in his playing days and has a big personality both on and off the field of play.
“His qualities were exemplified by the fact that he captained all the clubs he played for in Europe. Talk about big European clubs like Anderlecht of Belgium and French side Strasbourg.
“You could easily say he was one of the biggest footballers Nigeria has ever produced and only Austin Okocha came close to matching his personality in the national team in recent years.”
Mastoroudes however frowned upon the way Keshi was dismissed from his post as Super Eagles head coach.
“It’s important that we learn to honour our sporting heroes when they are alive. For all Keshi did for Nigerian football, he was not fairly treated especially the manner he was sacked from the Super Eagles.
“I think the best way to honour or immortalise Stephen is by making sure our ex-footballers are duly honoured.”