In a country desperately in need of genuine heroes, the shocking death last week in Benin City of former Nigeria captain and coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi reminded us that indeed there are some among us who are legendary not for their dexterity at looting our commonwealth, but for the immense sacrifices they make for the greater good. Heroes are not saints, and I will not argue that Keshi, or any human, was one. However, no one can deny that he contributed immensely, and brought glory, to our country, becoming only the second man to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and a coach. He also qualified tiny Togo and Nigeria for the World Cup, and became the first African to guide a team past the group stage of the global showpiece. Thankfully his heroics have rightly been celebrated across our country, our continent and beyond. He deserves no less in my opinion. Farewell Big Boss.
His former boss Shuaibu Amodu was to follow three days in the same city and of similar circumstances as both are suspected to have succumbed to cardiac arrests. Amodu is one of the most undervalued coaches this country has ever produced, but hopefully history will judge him better. Twice he qualified the Super Eagles for the World Cup and thrice he led them to bronze medals at the Nations Cup. He won different titles in Nigeria and added the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1990 when he was only 32 years old. Death has taken the bodies of these two giants, but their legacies remain intact.