Stephen Keshi was a trail blazer – James Ibori

Chief James Ona- nefe Ibori has described Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, who died in the early hours of Wednesday as a veritable achiever and trail blazer, who changed the lot of Nigerian footballers for the better.

Ibori said in a press statement signed by his Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, that Keshi was outstanding whether as a football player or Coach, or even just a Nigerian who refused to allow others decide his fate in life.

He said: “let it never be forgotten that it was after Keshi as New Nigerian Bank football club captain and national team player was slammed with a ban that he left Nigerian shores – and opened the floodgates for others to follow him into professionalism in other African countries and Europe”.

Thus, whatever good things that have happened to Nigerian football because of any influence from our having numerous footballers performing in the world’s best football leagues, should be credited to Keshi. Most of all, he remained a mentor to both his mates and those that followed behind them.

Ibori also pointed out that Keshi never rejected Nigeria’s call to duty while he was a footballer, often keeping an impossible schedule of boarding an aircraft minutes after a match to answer Nigeria’s or his foreign club’s duties and the indomitable will to triumph against all odds.

Ibori, former Governor of Delta state said Keshi showcased that quality that has made Delta State first in sports: an uncommon commitment to any task.

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