From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

ALTHOUGH most residents of Illah community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State had gone to farm, the gloom was still palpable following the sudden death of an illustrious son of the town, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.

Keshi, a former captain and coach of the nation’s national team, Super Eagles died at the early hours of yesterday in Benin City. Edo State. The football tactician hailed from Ukpologu Village in Illah community.

At his family house when Daily Sun visited, the Ogbeleani (traditional ruler) of the town, Obi Akazue Gbemudu II said his people were shocked over the sudden death of the ex-Eagles captain and handler.

The monarch who was represented by his Personal Assistant, Joseph Nwabueze said “we could not believe it because we never heard that he was sick anytime but just to suddenly hear this morning that Keshi is no more.

“It is unfortunate and very painful that such a young man can die in his prime when the people and the community was looking up to him to impact them and attract development to the community.

“We cannot query God who decided to take him now, but it’s a great loss to Illah, Delta, Nigeria and the World, though he is no longer the coach of Supper Eagles but we could have reached for his advise because of his experience.

Also, the acting Head of Ukpologu Village, Ogugua Enwemaya told newsmen that there was grief in the hearts of the people when the news of Keshi’s death was received, adding he was personally “surprised and astonished.”

“Keshi is my son in this community, it pains us a lot because we have lost a global figure, but since God decided to call him now, we cannot make any other appeal.”

Enwemaya said a meeting would be held when most of the residents returned from their farms to decide the next step to take.

A female member of the Keshi family, Christiana Madaka described death as cruel, adding that the late soccer legend should have lived to bring development to Illah.

“We heard the news of his death this morning from the radio and later Stephen’s elder brother, Sylvester called on phone from Lagos this morning to inform us and the villagers that Stephen died.

“We heard that he died at about 2 a.m this morning and we received the news with shock and sadness because Stephen died in his prime.

“As a brother in-law, he was good but I had thought that he would have lived to impact the family and the community more, unfortunately he is cut down in his prime,” she said.