Only three days after the death of Stephen Keshi, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical director and former Nigeria coach, Shuaibu Amodu passed on in the early hours of Saturday at the age of 58.
According to statement released by the NFF, Amodu died on Saturday after ‘he couldn’t wake up from his sleep’. The former BCC Lions of Gboko coach was said to have complained of chest pain before going to bed on Friday night and was confirmed dead by Saturday morning. NFF secretary general, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, confirmed the passing away of Amodu. “He sleep and he could not wake up.”
The Edo-born tactician took charge of the Super Eagles on four occasions in 1994 and 1995 as wellas in 1997, 2001 and 2002 and then between 2008 and 2010. Both Amodu and Keshi worked together as Nigeria’s head coach and assistant coach respectively at the 2002 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Mali.
Chairman of the Edo State Football Association, Mr. Frank Ilaboya, told thenff.com that he had been informed by the Edo State Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua, that the remains of the celebrated trainer had been deposited at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin City – incidentally the same facility where Keshi’s remains are kept.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick was devastated: “This is another tragedy too many. We are still talking about Keshi’s death, and now Amodu is gone. I’m short of words.” One of the best coaches that Nigeria has produced, Amodu Shuaibu first took charge of the Super Eagles at the age of 36, following the departure of Dutchman Clemens Westerhorf as Nigeria left her debut appearance at the FIFA World Cup in the USA in 1994 at the Round of 16. His first match with the Eagles was the famous ‘Wembley Friendly’ in which Nigeria impressed but lost 0-1 to England’s Three Lions.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who was on his way to Amodu’s home –town Okpella with NFF’s assistant director (technical) Abdulrafiu Yusuf and head of psychology Robinson Okosun for the burial on Saturday, told thenff.com: “This is most shocking. We are yet to recover from the death of Stephen Keshi.”
Pinnick, who was on his way back to Benin City only 24 hours after returning from visiting late Keshi’s family, could only add: “Amodu’s name was synonymous with the Super Eagles. You can’t talk about the history of Super Eagles without Amodu getting prominent chapters.”
In November 1994, Amodu first managed the Super Eagles in an international friendly with England in which his team lost 0-1. Amodu would be remembered for guiding BCC Lions to win the 1990 African Cup Winners Cup (now Caf Confederation Cup), and also for guiding the Nigerian men’s national team to the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals after it looked impossible to qualify following a poor start to the qualification series in Africa.