Eulogies continue to trail legendary Rashidi Yekini even as former Abia state governor Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu Weekend prayed the Federal government to honour him as a star who once refused to play against the Eagles in a 1994 friendly with Portuguese side Vitoria Setubal.
According to Kalu,”It was a pre-USA ’94 World Cup friendly. Yekini’s side listed him against the national team.He backed out.I remember his exact words.’It is possible at club level,but I would not do it against Eagles.I will not try it.I’d prefer to watch instead of playing against my country’.That is enough to honour this hero.
Of course,Yekini had tormented Iwuanyanwu Nationale in the 1990 CAF Champions’ Cup against Africa Sports of Cote D’ivoire.The game was moved from Abidjan to Seguela and club President Simplice Zinsou promised the Nigerian the equivalent of Twenty Four Thousand Naira[N24,000] for every goal scored against his countrymen.
“Yekini struck in the 18th minute,it took Ifeanyi Aghenu’s last minute effort for the Naze Boys to draw level.In the Benin second leg,Yekini did it again,in the 18th to cancel Thompson Oliha’s goal.Nationale were lucky to win 3-2,”Kalu disclosed.
The ex-governor could not come to terms with talks about the man’s mental state.However,he pleaded with Sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi to use more than ‘Kwara connection’ in bringing President Goodluck Jonathan to recognise Yekini even in death.
“As a footballer,Yekini was a party freak.He said it himself,loved rice with fried plantains,played basketball,dotted on his siblings Akeem and Sumaila,was a good swimmer and after marriage,was fond of his wife Patience whom he renamed Maryam,”Kalu added.
Born to Yekini and Sikiratu Balogun, October 23 1964,young Rashidi helped his glazier dad even as pupil of ABS school Kaduna.He would later train as a car painter.Active soccer began in 1981 when his friend Ade took him to coach Muniru Sule of UNTL Kaduna.In 1984, he joined Shooting Stars alongside Sola Akinsola,Daniel Abdulahi,Kayode Aina and Olu Kalejaye.Yekini also played for Abiola Babes.
Toro mourns Yekini
Former Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Association, Alhaji Ahmed Sani Toro has condoled the family of late Nigeria football icon, Rashidi Yekini who passed on Friday, May 4.
In a terse condolence note Toro said, “I wish to,on behalf of myself and family, condole with the family and the entire football family on the death of Rashidi Yekini, ex-international.”
He recalled that Rashidi was the first Nigerian to win the African Footballer of the year and the first to score a FIFA World Cup goal for Nigeria.
He prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Yekini touched everyone’s life — Ike
Super Eagles’ goalkeeper coach, Ike Shorunmu has expressed rude shock over the death of former Nigerian goal king, Rashidi Yekini.
Shorunmu told SuperSport.com that he is yet to come to term with the reality that the former African footballer of the year is dead.
“I’m shocked to the marrow, I’m still in shock and lacked the appropriate words to either react or express the sense of loss his death has on me.
“Yekini was a likeable guy, funny and interesting person with no dull moment once he is in camp or with you.
“He is equally principled, a patriot to the core and a staunch believer in the greatness of the senior national team.”
The former Nigerian goalkeeper and a close pal of the fallen free scoring goal hero would want Yekini to be immortalised by the government.
“Yekini was loved by everybody, we can’t afford to forget him, so naming a national edifice or structure after him will not be asking for too much.
“Yekini touched virtually everybody’s life in one way or another, loved too, by everybody.
“He died as our highest goal scorer,” said the former Besiktas goal stopper.