Home Sports Ex-Eagles, Fans Celebrate Late Rashidi Yekini 12 Years After

Ex-Eagles, Fans Celebrate Late Rashidi Yekini 12 Years After

Rashidi Yekini
Rashidi Yekini

Former Super Eagles players and football enthusiasts on Saturday paid tribute to Nigeria’s all-time top scorer, Rashidi Yekini, 12 years after he passed on at 48 after a protracted illness.

The late Yekini was reportedly kidnapped shortly before he passed away, and the cause of his death is still unclear.

Despite his sad ending over a decade ago, there is pride in the achievements of the 1993 African Footballer of the Year, yet sadness at his death and anger at the way he had been treated by the government and football authorities.

Super Eagles coach George Finidi, who made an assist for the late Yekini to score against Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup in the USA, Nigeria’s first goal in the history of the tournament, said he still feels sad over his untimely death.

“His passing was sad for everyone,” Finidi said in an exclusive chat with Sunday Punch.

“Over the years, I have spoken about him, our connection on the field, and what he did for Nigeria as a player. May his soul rest in peace.”

Former Eagles coach and captain, Sunday Oliseh, a teammate of Yekini, also said his legacies will always be a benchmark for emerging Nigerian players.

“The late Yekini deserves to always be remembered for all he did for our country,” Oliseh told SUNDAY PUNCH.

“He gave his all to our country, and his exploits are there for us all to see for others to emulate and learn from. May his soul continue to rest.

“Yekini is definitely one of the best African players and legends to ever walk this earth. Rashidi was full of pace, had a superb shot, could jump very high, and was calm in front of goal. Above all, he was a very loveable person once you got to know and understand him.”

Ace journalist, Oluwashina Okeleji also took to his X handle to eulogise the former Victoria Setubal striker.

“Today (Saturday) marks the 12th anniversary of Rashidi Yekini’s death.

“Football lost 1993 African Footballer of the Year Rashidi Yekini at the age of 48. He was Nigeria’s top scorer with 37 goals in 58 games. There was pride in his achievements, sadness at his death, and anger at the way he was treated by some.”

His former club, Gateway United, also joined other Nigerians in celebrating the legacy of Yekini.

Reflecting on Yekini’s illustrious career and his brief stint with Gateway United in 2005, the club’s acting general manager, Niyi Soleye, said, “Rashidi Yekini was not only a prolific goal scorer but also a gentleman that was respected by teammates and opponents alike. His 37 goals for Nigeria remain unmatched, a testament to his talent and dedication.”

Soleye fondly recalled Yekini’s time at Gateway United, describing it as a pivotal moment for the club and their supporters.

“I vividly remember his arrival like it was yesterday. As club secretary then, it was an honour to witness such a calibre of player joining us. He seamlessly adapted to our style, boosting morale both on and off the pitch.”

“While his passing in 2012 under controversial circumstances was tragic, his legacy continues to inspire future Nigerian footballers.”

Credit: punchng.com

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