The remains of the football legend and former Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi were committed to mother earth at his Ukpologwu quarters in Illah, Delta State, amid tears from family members, fans and ex-team-mates of the former Nigeria captain.
The sleepy town of Illah came alive as the body of Keshi, after arrival in the morning, was taken round the major streets, including the ones leading to the family house and the church adorned with posters of the former Togo coach.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, at the requiem service held at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, said the state was working out modalities to immortalise Keshi, who he described as having played his script because he came, saw and conquered.
Speaking through the deputy governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, who led other government functionaries, Okowa said the state government would link with the federal authorities to look for the best way to immortalise Keshi.
Ex-internationals and former team-mates of the late football icon, led by Austin Eguavoen moved worshippers almost to tears when they sang their favourite songs for the fallen soccer hero which had encouraged them to victories in their playing days.
“People may say he ‘Keshi’ was too bossy, he was not. We ran the national team together. If any person wanted to deal with Keshi, the person cannot because we (team-mates) were with him.
“Keshi is still our member, he is now lying in the box, it could have been any of us, but I tell you, our hearts are heavy,” said Eguavoen, who captained Nigeria to a 2-1 victory over Zambia in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final in Tunisia.
The former Eagles defender lamented the inability of the Federal Government to partake in the burial of Keshi.
“I am not shocked by the way the government has treated this event,” he said. “For instance, most of us have yet to get the houses the government promised us when we won the Nations Cup in 1994. You are only energised when you have been looked after. One keeps wondering if Nigeria is worth fighting for or even dying for”
In his homily, Reverend Fr. Dennis Arinze urged Nigerians to have strong faith in God, adding that a lot should be learnt from the death of a person like Keshi.
He bemoaned the level of unemployment, prostitution, hunger and other social vices plaguing the country.