• Eagles Have Lost Father Figures, Says Yobo
  • Wike, Dalung, Obiku express shock at death of Keshi, Amodu
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Former Super Eagles Captain, Joseph Yobo has described the death of both Stephen Keshi and Amodu Shaibu as big losses that will take a long time for the senior national team players  to recover from.
The former Everton player who celebrated his retirement from football after 101 caps for Nigeria with a testimonial match in Port Harcourt a fortnight, told THISDAY that while Amodu was a father figure to the team, the players relationship with Keshi was beyond that of coach/player.
“While we are still struggling with how to come to term with the exit of the Big Boss, we woke up on Saturdaymorning with another terrible news of the death of Coach Amodu. This is too much of a tragedy to hit Nigeria’s football. These men were some of the finest we have in the country,” sobbed Yobo.
The Ogoni-born ex-international recalled the pivotal role Amodu played to make his Centenary Game the huge success it turned out in the Garden City.
“I called Coach Amodu earlier in the week to relate to matters to him and wanted him to help me sort some pending matters concerning my testimonial. I was going to finalise the matter with him on Saturday when I got the sad news that he too, like Keshi, has died in Benin City,” the former Eagles defender stressed.
He prayed to God to grant eternal rest to the souls of the two top coaches.
Similarly,  Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has expressed shock at the sudden death of Shaibu.
According to a statement from the Special Assistant to the Rivers State governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike paid his condolences to the Nigerian football Family,  the immediate  family  of   Shaibu  and the NFF.
He said the death of Shaibu further depletes the community of football tacticians  available  to the country.
Wike prayed God to grant Nigerians the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He said the achievements  of  the former Super Eagles coach  will always remain  evergreen  in the memories  of  football  loving  Nigerians.
The Rivers State governor called for prayers for the football community  in view of the deaths of two senior tacticians,  Stephen Keshi and Shaibu in just one week.
Also yesterday, the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, described the deaths of Keshi and Amodu as devastating.
“This is terrible and shocking. On April 18, 2016, Shuaibu Amodu was in my office and we discussed many issues affecting Nigerian coaches and their welfare including ways of moving Nigeria’s football forward. He personally presented to me, a booklet he had published which contained ways of improving the country’s football and its administration.
“We were already charting a course in this direction when the news of his sudden death came to me”.

The minister noted that the sudden deaths of two Nigerian coaches within few days was sorrowful and called for prayers.

Another ex-international, Mike Obiku, said yesterday in Lagos that Keshi’s exemplary life should be inspiration to present generation and future footballers.
“He gave the game his all. As a coach, his achievements are worthy of emulations. We are going to miss him.”
Obiku who played for defunct NNPC Football Club of Warri the same time Keshi was captain of the New Nigerian Bank FC in Benin, recalled a game in which their path crossed and how the Illah-born central defender was instrumental to the many achievements of the two-time WAFU champions.