One of the most successful coaches to lead the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles in recent times, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi is 52 years old today. The former defense stalwart and captain of the national team was born on 23 January, 1962, in Bauchi State, Nigeria and is one of only two people, along with Egypt's Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach.
After a playing career mostly with Belgian clubs, Keshi went to the United States to be educated in coaching.
Between 2004 and 2006, Keshi coached the Togo national football team, unexpectedly bringing them to their first World Cup tournament, Germany 2006. Having secured Togo’s unlikely qualification, he was promptly replaced by German coach, Otto Pfister, prior to the World Cup finals, after Togo showed a dismal performance and failed to advance to the knock-out stage in 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
However, Pfister did not last beyond a controversial World Cup campaign that nearly resulted in a player's strike over pay and Togo remained without a manager until February 2007 when they re-engaged Keshi in time for a friendly against Cameroon.
The Big Boss, as he is fondly called, worked as manager of the Mali national football team, after being appointed in April 2008 on a two-year deal. Keshi was sacked in January 2010, after Mali's early exit in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations.
He became coach of the Nigerian National Team in 2011 and led Nigeria to qualification for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which the Eagles went on to win, defeating Burkina Faso 1–0 in the final, before qualifying the Eagles for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He is currently with the home based Eagles in South Africa for the Championship of African Nations meant for home based players in Africa.