Saturday, May 5, 2012
R.I.P Rashidi Yekini - a Nigerian legend
This probably won't make the headlines everywhere around the world. It will probably only be noticed by those who watched Football in the nineties, those who are from Nigeria and particularly those who were fans of the 1994 World Cup in the USA.
Rashidi Yekini, former Nigerian striker, has sadly passed away at the age of 48. He had apparently been ill for over a year as his struggle with bipolar disorder, depression and other neurological defects finally took their toll on him.
He will forever be remembered for being the first Nigerian player to ever win the African Footballer of the year title in 1993, as he had scored an astonishing 34 goals in 32 matches in one season for Vitoria Setubal in Portugal. His peak with the Nigerian national team though came when he steered them to lifting their first ever African Cup of Nations trophy in 1994 (finishing as top scorer of the tournament), followed by their first ever appearance at a World Cup. During the 1994 World Cup in the USA, Nigeria's first ever game in the tournament was against Bulgaria, whom they destroyed 3-0, but the moment that will forever stand out during that tournament was Yekini's celebration when he scored the country's first ever goal in a World Cup (Click here and forward to minute 1:00 for the goal and celebration). A true emotional moment in Nigerian Football history.
Those were the glory days of Nigerian football. When Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Jay Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike, Peter Rufai and of course Rashidi Yekini, all kept us entertained. Now one member of that glorious team has passed away. It's a sad day for Nigeria and a sad day for Football.
R.I.P Rashidi Yekini.