Akwa United midfielder Ifeanyi Ifeanyi has dedicated Tuesday’s 3-1 victory for Nigeria over Equatorial Guinea to the memory of late Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi.
The Eagles came from a goal down to complete a turnaround as they finished top of group C with seven points. Salvador Eyama had put Equatorial Guinea ahead minutes before half-time. Anthony Okpotu’s header on 59 minutes drew Nigeria level, it was the strikers first goal of the tournament. Sunshine Stars Dayo Ojo’s screamer from long range and Rabiu Ali’s penalty in the 83rd minute completed a remarkable turnaround for Nigeria who were in need of a point to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Ex Super Eagles captain and coach of the side Keshi died in Benin on 7 June 2016. He would have celebrated his 56th birthday on the day Nigeria defeated Equatorial Guinea.
We can never forget all you did for Nigerian football, we miss you Stephen Okechukwu Keshi 'Big Boss.' pic.twitter.com/kDhxqySyIX
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) January 23, 2018
Ifeanyi who left the field for Rabiu Ali in the second half thanked fans of Nigeria for their support and dedicated the win to the ‘Big Boss’, Stephen Keshi.
“The fans support helped the team, and I personally appreciate and thank them,” Ifeanyi said to Naijafootballplus.com minutes after the win. “It wasn’t easy for us and them when we were 1-0 down, but they believed in us and we won.”
'The Big Boss' would have been 56 today. https://t.co/32CgRw16Tk
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) January 23, 2018
Nigeria football lovers all over the world paid tribute to Keshi who is only one of two men who had won the African Nations Cup both as a player and as a coach. Google honoured Keshi, with a doodle on its search engine page for Nigerian users.
Ifeanyi added: “Everyone is celebrating a hero in Stephen Keshi today (Tuesday), so the win for us makes the celebration sweeter, and I am happy we won, so we dedicate the victory to Stephen Keshi who rests on, but Legacy lives on”