By Johnny Edward:
Photos by GANIYU YUSUF:
Former Super Eagles legends paid tribute to the late Stephen Keshi whose lying in state was held in Benin City, Edo State and in Asaba Delta State on Thusday, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Such was the late Keshi's influence on Nigerian football, even the former captain of senior national team, Uche Okechukwu, his teammates, Mutiu Adepoju, Alloy Agu, Austin Eguavoen, Victor Ikpeba amongst others ex-internationals attended the ceremony.
Keshi's first son also paid his last respects along with his other sibling Ifeyinwa and her husband at an emotional gathering in Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Benin on Thursday morning.
Also present was the Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick in Benin before the body was later taken to Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Keshi, who won the African Nations Cup title an a player and a coach, died at the age of 54 on June 8.
The former Nigerian captain also enjoyed great success as Super Eagles manager before a home draw against South Africa in 2014 cost him his job.
Keshi Jnr and his siblings were in an understandably sombre mood as they arrived at the Saint Paul’s Catholic Church, off Airport Road, just as other members of the family and his bosom friend and his assistant coach Hounadinou Valere.
Valere who spoke to Completesportsnigeria.com stated that he was still in shock that his best friend was no more.
"I just saw him lie down there I don't know what to say. My friend is gone, my wife too," he said, referring to Keshi's late wife..
In Asaba, the remains of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winning coach laid in state inside the Indoor Hall of the Keshi Stadium, named after the legend by former Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
On Friday, another church service will hold in his home town in Illah, before internment. Reception will take place at the Omorka Primary School.
Meanwhile, a novelty game between ex-internationals and All-Stars from Edo State was played at the same venue in honour of Keshi. The game ended 1-1.