By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS (AA) - Nigeria is mourning the death of the inspirational footballer who took the country’s national team to two World Cup tournaments -- once as a player and again as a manager.
Stephen Keshi died of a cardiac arrest early Wednesday, aged 54.
Keshi was at different times the head coach of the Nigerian national football team, including between 2011 and 2014 during which time he led the side to victory in the African Cup of Nations in South Africa.
"Keshi was a superhero. His death is a big loss to Nigeria as a nation, not only to Nigerian football," the Nigeria Football Federation said in a social media post.
On Jan. 9, 2014 Keshi was named African Coach of the Year. He took the country to the World Cup in Brazil that year.
Keshi was also captain of the revered Nigeria side which made it to the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. and which is widely regarded as Nigeria's best ever.
He also coached the national teams of Togo and Mali.