Rashidi Yekini celebrates scoring Nigeria’s first ever World Cup goal at USA’84.
BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
Nigeria Football Federation and hooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan on Thursday honoured late Nigeria striker Rashidi Yekini in commemoration of hi fifth death anniversary.
NFF tweeted: “Heroes get remembered, but LEGENDS like RASHIDI YEKINI never die. Keep resting in peace ‘Yeking of Goals.’ ( 23 Oct.1963- 4 May 2012).”
Shooting Stars also embraced the social media platform to eulogise Yekini, who scored 45 goals in 53 for the Oluyole Warrior between 1982 and 1984.
The Nigeria Professional Football League side stated: “Five years on, we still remember our legendary #RashidiYekini. Rest in peace the #GoalKing!.”
Yekini died in Ibadan on 4 May 2012 at the age of 48, the news being confirmed by former national teammates Mutiu Adepoju and Ike Shorunmu. He was buried at his residence in Ira, Kwara State.
The former Victoria Setubal player was reported to be ill for an extended period of time. In 2011, news media in Nigeria begun issuing reports of his failing health, and he was said to suffer from bipolar disorder, depression and some other undisclosed psychiatric condition.
His professional career, which spanned more than two decades, was mainly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, but he also played in six other countries besides his own.
Yekini scored 37 goals in 58 matches as a Nigerian international, and represented the nation in five major tournaments, including two World Cups, where he scored the country’s first-ever goal in the competition at the 1994 edition in USA, in a 3–0 win against Bulgaria. He was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 1993.
His celebration after scoring, crying while holding the goal’s net, became one of the iconic images of the tournament and the 1998 FIFA World Cups.
Additionally, Yekini helped the Super Eagles win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations, where he also topped the goal charts and was named best player of the competition. He also participated at Olympic level in Seoul 1988.