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FLASHBACK: How I Treated Keshi Like A Demigod — Ex 3SC Defender, Babalade


Former Super Eagles and Shooting Stars player, Ajibade Babalade says he treated former Super Eagles Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi like a demigod during their playing days.

Babalade, who died on Friday afternoon, revealed this in a recent interview with PUNCH.

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“It was a wonderful experience for me to play with Keshi , Austin Eguavoen , Samson Siasia , Friday Ekpo and Thompson Oliha, who was my teammate at Iwuanyanwu , amongst others. As a young player then , I never knew that I was going to play with all these stars . Keshi was a great guy.

“I shared a room with him in camp . When we were about to sleep , I would move near the wall because to me , it was like I was with a demigod . We all looked up to him for leadership. He would call me and say , ‘ Jibade , sleep well . Feel free with me . I am a player like you . ’ One day after training , I was washing my hose , boots and shin guards , I picked his and washed too. He said , ‘ You are a star too . Stop treating me as if I ’ m bigger than this . ’ When we had free time , I will leave him alone and go out to play with people I felt were same level with me. I would go to Ekpo and the other guys ’ rooms. Sometimes , it was when we were to go for our meal that he would see me and ask , ‘ this guy where have you been since? You just left me alone in the room . ’ He was also very generous . When he came to camp , he gave me some sports shoes and wears . It ’ s sad he ’ s no more,” he said.

When asked whether he was considering a career in coaching, he said no and described coaches as very strong-minded individuals.

“As much as I love football, I fear to venture into coaching . Those guys ( coaches ) are really trying . As a coach , you carry the burden of millions of people , the fans . When your team loses , the fans descend on you . When you win , it’ s momentary . I prefer to do other football- related things , not coaching . Look at national teams and clubs coaches ; they are always on the edge . This is because their job has to do with people’ s passion and emotion . Coaches are very strong-minded individuals . I hail those who are into it.”

In the interview, the former Super Eagles Manager also revealed that the blood of 3SC runs in him.


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