Stephen Keshi Centre celebrates former Super Eagles boss’ seventh anniversary
The Stephen Keshi Football and Vocational Centre (SKFVTC), yesterday, rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the demise of one of Nigeria’s biggest football heroes, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.
Keshi was a colossus in Nigerian football. Apart from being the first Nigerian to captain a team to the senior FIFA World Cup, he was also the first and still the only footballer from the country to win the African Cup of Nations as a player and also as a coach.
Every year, SKFVTC remembers the legendary ‘Big Boss’ on July 7 with a yearly memorial lecture and the Stephen Keshi National U-17 Football Tournament in commemoration of his lifetime achievements in football and sensitise the football family on the need to remember those who served the country meritoriously.
According to SKFVTC, this year’s activities would have marked the sixth edition of the yearly lecture and U-17 tournament, but the events had to be put off because of the suspended NLC/TUC strike earlier scheduled yesterday.
Speaking on the anniversary activities, Louis Brown Ogbeifun and Augustine Popo, who are chairman and secretary respectively of the SKFVTC board of trustees, said in a statement, “Keshi died in Benin City on June 7, 2016 and after his demise, the Late Enogie of Obazuwa, Edun Akenzua, a close friend of the ‘Big Boss,’ donated a vast land for a football village, which would turn Obazuwa into a tourist destination. Sadly, the Enogie also has joined his ancestors. Though getting support for them has been challenging, the Board of the SKVTC remains unrelenting and working hard to actualize Enogie’s dream.
“The SKFVTC, Obazuwa, occupies a vast plot of land measuring 1,000 feet by 1,000 feet, which is close to a seaport in Edo State. The plot was gifted free of charge to the SKFVTC, which was set up as a public-private partnership project aimed at revolutionizing the football profession in the country. When completed, it will serve as a development center for the training of budding sports talents in Nigeria and Africa; more importantly, the football complex will help to immortalise the name of Stephen Keshi and the Late Enogie of Obazuwa, Edun Akenzua for their contributions to Football development.”
According to the statement, “the SKFVTC integrated football village has four football-playing pitches, hostels, an agro-allied section, primary and secondary schools, vocational training workshops, etc.
“When completed, the SKFVTC can, directly and indirectly, generate employment for more than 1,000 Nigerians. It will serve, among others, as an integrated non-profit football village for identifying, nurturing, and developing talented football youths nationwide.
“It will also nurture young footballers that would help Edo State produce talented players that will serve as a pool for the national league/Super Eagles, expose young footballers to the conventional academic curriculum (primary and secondary) and vocational training so that if they cannot continue in their football endeavors, they would fall back to their vocations to support themselves.”
The trustees also said the Stephen Keshi project is one of the seven projects planned for the six geo-political zones to immortalise past and living legends.