I watched with keenness as the Super Eagles of Nigeria won the much coveted AFCON cup and how they were treated to a worthy glorious return. As I mused on these happenings, I could not help but marvel at the excellent personality and leadership effused by Coach Stephen Keshi.
I was able to identify three high level virtues that have helped the coach lift the team, the nation of Nigeria and himself to our present exalted football position and I’ll discuss them below:
Personal Resolve and belief: Life is like driving where the only person you can control is you. Stephen Keshi controlled himself to retain his personal resolve to win and his belief that the team could do it. If he had done away with this belief, we would not have witnessed Nigeria lifting the cup. We did not win as a result of luck, we won because Nigeria had lifted the cup in Stephen Keshi’s mind before the start of the tournament.
This resolve must have helped him to remain steadfast despite our disappointing start and lack of support from where he would have most expected it. Without a doubt, the team was an obvious hopeless one but they shot past all limitations because the coach must have predefined them to be winners.
For me, this reiterates the fact that what you have formed on your inside, what you strongly believe in can take you far beyond your present outlook.
Patience: Throughout the tournament, Coach Stephen Keshi did not give gossip papers or the grapevine the relish of any outburst or outrage. He patiently waited for the result he believed in and never gave up. I’m sure he did not overwhelm himself with the big picture. He knew his resolve, held on to it but dealt with reality one barrier after the other, one match after the other.
Silence: I will refer to the words of the acclaimed wisest man that lived on earth, King Solomon. He said, “When a fool keeps quiet, he is considered wise.” This is the simple lesson Osaze should have suffered himself to heed.
It is the wisest and smartest people that master the art of silence. In today’s world of instant twitter and Facebook updates, we would think this ancient piece of wisdom had gone mundane but thank God for Coach Stephen keshi who has defied this assumption. He lived away from twitter and Facebook and even when he must have been most pressed to yield to these overtures, he forsook temporary relief and faced his challenge headlong.
He kept quiet when the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) chided him and even threatened to sack him. He kept quiet still when the same NFF shook with fear and reportedly purchased return tickets for the team.
In summation, I will refer again to the words of King Solomon, “A man who conquers his spirit is stronger than the man who conquers a city”. Coach Stephen Keshi is super strong, he has evidently conquered his spirit and he also before our very eyes conquered cities!