Late Rashidi Yekini
BY ABAYOMI JOHNSON
Ex Nigeria midfield enforcer, Emeka Ezeugo said late Rashidi Yekini was not a yes man like most members of the historic 1994 Super Eagles team.
Ezeugo said this in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the death of the Nigeria record goal scorer, who passed aged 48 on Thursday May 4, 2012 in Ibadan after reportedly suffering from bipolar disorder, depression and some other undisclosed psychiatric condition
Ezeugo eulogized the man who scored 37 goals in 58 appearances for Nigeria between 1984 and 1998, lamenting the shoddy manner ex Nigeria internationals are being treated by custodians of the game in the country.
He stated: “Gangling and I had a special thing, we were never pro establishment, we saw things in a different way, and the other players were more of, Yes Sir, Yes Sir type.
“Serving Nigeria meant more than lacing up our boots, hop into the pitch and play ball. He’s always the player that hails his teammates at the back that makes a great tackle, what a patriot! One of a kind. There will never be another.
“I remember a few years back in 2006 precisely when El Rufai invited us for an exhibition game in Abuja. I returned from the US and I didn’t see him. I knew something was wrong and I called him. He said I won’t tell you on the phone why I am not there and I promised him that I will be in Lagos the next and will be driving to Ibadan the next morning. “Knowing the kind of man he is, I got into Ibadan by 7.00am, went straight to Liberty Stadium first and there he was. Good a thing I had my playing gears in my car and we had a ball enjoying the beautiful game. After that he told me why he refused to show up in Abuja 30 years Exhibition game. Why would an eagle hang out with vultures? “These guys are only interested about themselves. ‘Study With The ’94 Bunch,’ ex-internationals, NFF sycophants, Players’ Unions and Nigerian Coaches. What value have they added to Nigerian football? How many are in NFF Technical Committee, Coaches, Goalkeeper coaches and players are still disenfranchised in Nigerian football?
“Am still not eligible to contest for any position in NFF today? There’s Nowhere in the world it’s like that, players must go back to their states, contest, win and complete a four year term before getting eligibility. Only in Nigeria. Do our colleagues in the national team care? Why did Jay Jay run to Delta state to be state Federation Chairman? Gangling, rest in peace.”
Yekini’s 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 Nigeria, where he laced boots for UNTL Kaduna, Abiola Babes, Shooting Stars and Julius Berger.
He was buried at his residence in Ira, Kwara State.