EXCLUSIVE: Head Teacher reveals how Keshi’s football prowess earned him scholarship at St. Finbarr’s College

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It has been revealed that the late former Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, 54, was admitted to the college because of his football prowess.

The Head Teacher, St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka Lagos, Daniel Ikediobi stated this in an interview in Lagos.

“Stephen Keshi was admitted into the school on scholarship due to his dexterity in football.

“He was admitted into form three during the 1977/1978 academic session by the founding Principal of the college, Rev. Fr. Dennis Slatery,’’ Ikediobi told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

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He said the principal, the first Chairman, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), and first Chairman, Nigerian Referees Association (NRA), attracted students who exhibited good skills in football to the school.

“Fr Slatery attracted students who were potential footballers by offering scholarships or soft landing to them because St. Finbarr’s College is a football-playing school.

“Any issue that concerned Keshi was considered if his parents could not meet up,’’ Ikediobi said while paying tribute to the football legend.

According to him, the former captain and coach of the senior national team was poached while playing for his former school during the Lagos State Principal Cup competition.

He said that Keshi played for the school in the competition the year he was admitted and won it which was the last he played before he left in 1979/1980 session.

The head teacher, who was the Physics teacher then, indicated that could not say much about his academic performance because Keshi was an arts student.

“I cannot say much about his brilliance in academics but being prominent in football with Henry Nwosu, he was known to be relatively cool headed.

“He was not involved in any activity that warranted being suspended or expelled from the school throughout his days,’’ the head teacher said.

He, however, said that as an old student of the school, Keshi did not contribute to the school and the efforts to reach him were abortive.

“He did not do much for the school; when he won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations for the country, we made several efforts to bring him to address the students but did not succeed.

“I am unaware of any financial assistance made to the Old Boys Association or to the school, nothing of such, not even a trophy,’’ he noted.

 

He also said that it was a privilege for one to be given a scholarship in the school on account of football and much was expected from him.

“I think that people should learn from little mistakes, if Keshi had made it a point of duty to visit the school, he could have.

“This cannot be said of his other colleagues who are in his position.

“Wherever you are, whatever you are, do not forget your parents, do not forget you teachers or the school that made you what you are,’’ Ikediobi said.

For Mrs Wasiat Ayanbajo, Head Teacher, St Peters Catholic Primary School, Ebute Meta, where Keshi finished his primary education in 1972/73 session, not much could be said about his days as a pupil.

Ayanbajo, however, said that records showed that as an old student he contributed to the school’s development.

“He was a benefactor to the school; he jointly with Paul Okoku, another footballer, equipped it with modern communications gadgets.

“All these people were old students of the school,’’ she said.

According to her, the late coach came to the school on May 27 and May 28 2012, to celebrate Children’s Day and World Hungers Day with the children.

She said Keshi donated food items and other materials, which were given to the less privileged children in the school.

Keshi died on Wednesday in during a brief illness.

 

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