Nigeria football legend, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, begin his final journey home in Benin City, Edo state today. The former Super Eagles captain and coach, Stephen Keshi died on June 8, 2016, at the age of 54 in what was a huge loss to Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world at large.
The funeral rites of late Stephen Keshi started with a mass service at St. Paul Catholic Church Benin City. The event was well attended by family members, top members of the Nigeria Football Federation, ex-internationals and a host of other well wishers.
The NFF delegation to the final rites was led by the President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick. Others included: Mr. Frank Ilaboya (Chairman of the Edo State Football Association), Mr. Neville Bekederemo (Chairman of NPFL side, Warri Wolves FC) and Mr. Edema Fuludu (Chairman of Delta State League Management Company). The service will be followed by a novelty match in his honour at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin.
His remains will depart Benin City for Asaba after the church service on Thursday, July 28, to Delta state from 1:15pm.
On arrival, there will be lying in state ceremony at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Indoor Hall, Asaba, from 3:15pm, while a service of songs/vigil mass will hold at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Illah, Delta state by 6:00pm same day.
On Friday, July 29, 2016, the body leaves Asaba for Illah by 7am, with a brief stopover at the Ogbelani Palace for traditional rites as a palace chief by 8:00am, followed by lying in state at his family home, Ukpologwu Quarters, Illah, from 8:30am.
The requiem mass will take place at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Illah, by 10:00am after which interment will hold at his family compound, Ukpologwu Quarters, Illah, from 12:30pm.
Entertainment of guests will be at Omorka Primary School Playground by 12:30pm. The burial ceremonies will be rounded off on Sunday, July 31, with a thanksgiving mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Illah, by 10:00am.
The “Big Boss” as he was popularly called is one of the only two men to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and coach, he was captain of Nigeria for 11 years and had in his bag an AFCON gold, silver and bronze.