By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos – Google on Tuesday marked the 56th birthday of the late Nigerian football icon, Stephen Keshi, with Doodle.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages that commemorates holidays, events, achievements and people.
Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, made the asertion during a chat with Google in Lagos.
According to Kola-Ogunlade, Keshi was born in Azare, Bauchi State, Nigeria, and was a member of the famed St. Finbarrs College Football Academy of 1977.
He said that he was later called up for the Junior Eagles and subsequently the Super Eagles in preparation for the 1980 African Cup of Nations competition.
“Football took Keshi all over the world as he played across Africa, Europe, and the U.S.
“Known affectionately as `Big Boss’, he was beloved as a player for Nigeria’s national team, where he earned more than 60 caps and for representing the country at the FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations,’’ he said.
Kola-Ogunlade said that after his great success as a player, Keshi moved into coaching, the next phase of his career, adding that when the “Big Boss’’ became the coach of the Togo national team, he brought his trademark passion with him.
The Google manager said that against the odds, Keshi led Togo all the way to a qualifying spot in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
“He achieved his personal dream in 2011, when he became an indigenous national coach of the Super Eagles, cementing his place in African and world football history.
“Coaching the Nigerian team, Keshi won the African Cup of Nations in 2013, and in 2014 became the first African coach of an African nation to make it to the knockout round of a World Cup.
“Keshi is one of the only two men to win the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a manager, a testament to his wit, talent, and love for the sport.
“A big cheer for this football legend on what would have been his 56th birthday!’’ he said.