Rashidi Yekini, a former striker for Nigeria's Super Eagles team, has passed away after months of illness.Yekini, as he was fondly called, is reported to have passed away at his residence in Kwara state after returning from the United Kingdom where he had been taken for treatment.
The announcement of his death stunned his former teammates and fans, who went on to radioshows, and social networking sites to leave condolences messages. .
Yekini made his first international appearance for Nigeria's football team in the 1984 African Nations Cup, which Nigeria won 2-1 won over Ghana. He appeared 58 times for Nigeria over a 14-year international career, and scoring 37 goals which made him one of the all-time highest goal scorers for the Super Eagles. He also won the African footballer of the year award in 1993.
Yekini also stamped his name in the record books when he scored Nigeria's first ever World Cup goal and his celebration of the goal, where he shook the net vigorously is one of the most memorable images of the World Cup.
He started his career at UNTL in Kaduna state, and then played for Shooting Stars and Abiola Babes before he moved to Cote d'Ivoire's Africa Sports. After that, he moved to Vitoria Setubal of Portugal, where he scored 90 goals in 108 appearances.
In a condolence message, the Kwara state Governor said, â€œGovernment received with great shock and disbelief the sudden and untimely death of one of the finest and dedicated football players Nigeria has ever produced, Rasheed Yekini.
â€œ During his active days, the late Yekini demonstrated uncommon skills on the field of play and commitment to the Nigeria project that he was known not only in Nigeria but across the African continent as a great footballer.
Yekini is expected to be buried on Saturday according to Muslim rites in Ilah, Kwara State.
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Glo Oke Okechu Abuja, NIGERIA May 09, 2012
The tragedy of Rashidi Yekini should be a lesson for us all, when the going is good, think and do things that will last. Women, Money, controversy are potential landmines. Those who have ears let them hear.
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA May 05, 2012
Too late for crocodile tears! Everyone who cared to know was aware that the late Mr. Rashidi Yekini was neglected by the Nigerian community to his own peril. He was a personification of delusion in a better Nigeria. He was abandoned and excommunicated like an outcast! No other country in the world would have treated a former national football star that way. The condolences from Nigeria's president, Kwara State Governor, his team mates, etc are in my opinion unwarranted. It is like crying over a spilt milk.
Where and when was the love shown to him while in self imposed solitary confinement in an old store building? If there is heaven, may the case of Rashidi Yekini be like the biblical Lazarus who found God's favour. May his soul rest in peace. May God Almighty provide means of survival to the family he left on earth, amen. God save Nigeria.