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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:34 pm 
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mastermind wrote:
Maybe we need to develop football in all parts of Nigeria and get everybody involved. The best striker or footballer period I've ever seen play live was in my high school in Ibadan. He's an Hausa boy, big strong and imposing. He's the fastest in the school also. He's got an eye for goal, I can ever forget Joga. His parents didn't want him to play football professionally after high school he went to University.

Strikers are no-nonsense people with a killer-mentality and crazy work ethic. Footballer that we are producing today are just like Mikel, water carriers.

Reminds one of a certain Portugese.... :winking: :winking: :winking: :winking:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:51 pm 
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Damunk wrote:

He scored 38 goals in 57 appearances for Nigeria.
That's a goal ratio of 0.67.
In short, he scored two goals in every three games he played for the country.

By comparison with other African greats, George Weah scored 22 goals in 60 appearances for Liberia (goal ratio 0.37) and Samuel Etoo scored 58 goals in 118 appearances for Cameroun (goal ratio 0.47). Our own Odegbami scored 22 goals in 47 SE appearance, a goal ratio of 0.47

So do you really want to diminish these facts - African arena or not?
By the time he played in France '98 Yekini was way past his peak which was really between 1990-1994.
But he was still the best we had at the time.

Stats do not tell the whole story. The likes of Weah and Eto'o are seen as greats b/c of performances at club level (mainly AC Milan and Barca). You really can't judge Weah's goal-scoring exploits for Liberia without factoring in the quality of the team. On many occasions he played in midfield for them b/c there was no one to pass him the ball if he stayed upfront. Most of Odegbami's games for Nigeria were as a winger. So his stats are quite impressive.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:00 pm 
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ukwala wrote:
I don't think it is fair to compare Ighalo's (or any other striker's) performance in the WORLD CUP with Yekini's performance at lower levels. At the World Cup, Yekini was not great too, in fact I remember vividly the sitter he missed against Italy after Emenalo had put it on a plate for him. Yekini took us to the 1994 WC with his goals in the qualifiers and brought us back with his misses in the big dance. This may be controversial but I believe Nigeria has never had a true world class player, you know a Real Madrid / Barca / Bayern level player, a top 10 WPOY nominee. Not Yekini, not Jayjay, not Kanu.

Jay-Jay was at that level. He said he could have played for those clubs if they trusted Africans in playmaker roles. The likes of Geremi, Essien and Muhammadu Diarra played for Madrid and you think Jay-Jay was not at that level. Taribo West played for Inter when Serie A was the best league in the world and Italians were the best defenders. Finidi was genuine world class and at a time was seen as the best right-sided midfielder in the world. Kanu was signed by Inter (and Serie A was the best then) but his heart problems got in the way.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Damunk wrote:
Just reading through The Yemster's thread on Ighalo and how he was found not fit for purpose.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=289712
Then the fact began hitting home real hard that we really haven't had a true world class striker since the days of Rashidi Yekini. We seriously paid the price in Russia.

It makes me wonder what it was about Yekini that really made him what he was.
Its hard to find anything peculiar about him yet he turned out to be a very special player.
1. Yekini was a local 20-year-old player that went from IICC/Abiola Babes to Africa Sports in Ivory Coast.
2. From there, age 27 he moved on to Portugal, new environment, language and culture. Probably very few Nigerians out there.
3. At Vitoria Setubal where he scored 90 goals in 114 appearances. They were a lowly club, probably not even mid table
4. Didn't play for any youth teams or benefit from anything particularly formal in his football education in his early years
5. He wasn't a particularly educated man and came from an extremely humble background.

So what was sit about him that we have failed to find ever since. His physique? His brain? His attitude? The era? His coaches?

Most footballing countries seem to produce top quality strikers on a fairly regular basis but ours has been missing for far too long. I think Aiyegbeni was our closest striker to him by way of potency but even he was a shadow of himself in the GWG.

Isaac Success isn't living up to expectations and Osimhien we are still waiting for with baited breath.
Even England who we love to disparage for sentimental reasons have produced generational greats like Gary Linker, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and now Harry Kane is doing his own bit.

So what are we missing and what's the secret to Yekini?
Or was it just a freak aberration? Luck maybe?

We badly needed a half decent striker in Russia and that was the difference between first round and second round.

The 'Zero Shots On Target' thread was about our dearth of strikers and not necessarily about just one man or one team.

I think now we know that it WAS (and still is) actually a problem which too many people were quick to dismiss. :idea:


Just posted my take on Yekini on another thread - http://forum.cybereagles.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=289828&start=23#p5284448

For me Yekini was someone who worked hard at his game in order to maximise his God given talents. His explosion of form between 1990 and 1994 was indicative of someone who had found a way to utilise his speed, strength size to the maximum. I believe he also had an inherent hunger to score goals. I dont see anyone in our current squad who has this. Ihenacho i felt was someone like this but he has not lived up to expectations. Granted though he is still young.

Another possible factor is the fact that Yekini had to hustle HARD for a livelihood so it may have been the necessity to succeed that made him work so hard to improve himself. These days success (and i am talking Monetary here) comes much easier for players with a little talent. Imagine if Yekini was playing today?? What will he be worth and would he have been driven as he was to succeed, especially if he was making very good money by his early 20's ?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:01 pm 
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Damunk wrote:
GG of G wrote:
The problem is that street football in Nigeria deemphasizes scoring real life big pitch goals for "monkey post " type goals. I use to watch the Arsenal U-9 in the Bucks area from my window and these kids are playing with proper posts and facing real goalkeepers. I remember playing "set" and "choosing" with no proper post and sometimes no goalkeepers (a fi Olorun So le) football. It means we never really honed our shooting, avoiding goalkeepers, scoring awareness skills. Overall, Nigeria needs a deep dive on football development starting from primary schools, PE teachers, youth games/leagues etc with proper emphasis on technical skills.

Here in England, the country developed this our way thing and changed from booting the ball upfield to passing out from the back. They also decided they need to take youth tournaments seriously and developed a curriculum across the country to teach kids football and encouraged Futsal. The result - they are World U-17 and U-20 champions. Nigeria needs a similar approach.
Interesting point there.
The 'monkey post factor' might be worth looking into.
In primary school out here in the UK, I remember our school team's players had special 'shooting' games in which scoring meant being able to hit a ball into a small elevated round net mounted on the wall. The game was not a stop and shoot system but continuous play. So not only did you have to hit the net but you'd try and angle the rebound to make it difficult for the opposing team's kicker to hit the net esp if the angle was too steep or too far away.
The shooting accuracy was honed and I was one of the best at it. By the time I got into sec school in Naija, I was known for passing and shooting accuracy but was short on physical strength and individual dribbling skills (which were coached out of me at an early age by the typical English coaches :roll: ).

That monkey post thing might be worth analyzing and addressing on a national football policy level. :thumb:


Bro, are you referring to ‘wall ball’? It’s a really good game but a robust inter-state 5 a side tournament is more beneficial IMHO.

The Nigerian under-17 teams always seem on par with their peers in terms of technical ability. However, something tends to go wrong when they ‘graduate’. What is the difference between Frank Lampard and Joe Cole? Joe Cole was meant to be even better than Gazza, remember?

Lampard treated football like a vocation and set out to perfect his craft whilst Joe relied on ‘natural talent’ for most of his career. Lampard trained like a mad man and he maximised the little talent he had. We have also heard similar stories about Beckham, Scholes and even Harry Kane.

We need to implore the younger Eagles to train smarter. They need to become true students of the game, and be rest assured that this will also develop their ‘in-game management’ skills - they will not have to rely too heavily on their coaches during matches.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:10 pm 
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I think Yekini was very similar to Lukaku in style and physique, not "pretty" but they could score. Yekini's main problems post 94 were fitness related.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Yeking was special because he could strike the ball...period.
The goal-posts in Tunisia are still rattling from Yekini's cannon in AFCON1994...

But Yekini wasn't the world-class striker who could manufacture a goal out of nothing...or capitalise on a half-chance...
Yekini needed to be fed...

Yeking (at his productive peak 1990-94) played in a SEagles squad that had decent creative percentage...
In that era, Finidi, Amuneke, Oliseh, Keshi, Okocha, Ekpo, Elaho, Oliha, Adepoju, etc were decent creators from which Yeking profited...

Prior to those productive years, when the creative personnel in the SEagles were unremarkable, Yekini was not Yeking... In his first 2 AFCONS (1984 & 1988) Yekini was nothing special (notched just 2 goals)...

Oga Damunk, comparing Yeking's stats with Odegbami's stats is disingenous...Odegbami was essentially a creator; yet he scored buckets of goals...often manufacturing the goals from half-chances...that made Odegbami special...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:12 pm 
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mastermind wrote:
Maybe we need to develop football in all parts of Nigeria and get everybody involved. The best striker or footballer period I've ever seen play live was in my high school in Ibadan. He's an Hausa boy, big strong and imposing. He's the fastest in the school also. He's got an eye for goal, I can ever forget Joga. His parents didn't want him to play football professionally after high school he went to University.

Strikers are no-nonsense people with a killer-mentality and crazy work ethic. Footballer that we are producing today are just like Mikel, water carriers.

Hm. Maybe you are a mastermind after all.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:42 pm 
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YemiBrazil wrote:
To the topic, I love how Yekini's profile was described. He didn't pass through any special football academy or any of the organized environments of his early years. Yet, those who saw him for the first time when the then IICC Shooting Stars were preparing for 1984 African Cup of Champions during a friendly against Ashanti Kotoko of Ghana knew right away that the young, thin, tall, ebony black striker just acquired from UNTL FC of Kaduna was a very special talent. He was described as raw but with a strange hunger and eye for goal. He was his own No.1 critic. Banging his head, kicking himself after every single wrong pass, missed goal attempt, mistimed runs into offside position - IICC got a true battler leading the line.

The icing on the cake was his determination to get better, to sharpen the rough edges, to be the very best. His own training starts after the official club training - a practice he continued even after retirement from football. His methods of perfecting his bulala shots were unorthodox but the results showed with his outstanding statistics. He is not world class until you have to play against him then you know better after 90 minutes of hell marking him out of the game. There is no point going through the details of his exploits from IICC, to Abiola Babes and the more familiar stories at Ivory Coast and then Europe.

Another fascinating thing about him was when he retired back to the Nigerian league and scored a hat-trick for Gateway FC of Abeokuta at around the age of 40. That was like good 20 years after he showed up unheralded in Ibadan. Hat-trick? Nigerian league?

GBAM! I think this is the koko of what it means to be a truly world class player - the high target setting, self awareness, self criticism, regular practise of craft and never wanting to settle for ordinary. That is what sets world class players apart from those with potential or talent.

Some arrive early, some arrive late.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:54 pm 
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ohsee wrote:
mastermind wrote:
Maybe we need to develop football in all parts of Nigeria and get everybody involved. The best striker or footballer period I've ever seen play live was in my high school in Ibadan. He's an Hausa boy, big strong and imposing. He's the fastest in the school also. He's got an eye for goal, I can ever forget Joga. His parents didn't want him to play football professionally after high school he went to University.

Strikers are no-nonsense people with a killer-mentality and crazy work ethic. Footballer that we are producing today are just like Mikel, water carriers.

Hm. Maybe you are a mastermind after all.
yep, my striker friends growing up are aggressive and highly competitive. They are fearless and different from all the players on the pitch, they've got the SPARK to them!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:19 pm 
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FATHER TIKO wrote:
Yeking was special because he could strike the ball...period.
The goal-posts in Tunisia are still rattling from Yekini's cannon in AFCON1994...

But Yekini wasn't the world-class striker who could manufacture a goal out of nothing...or capitalise on a half-chance...
Yekini needed to be fed...

Yeking (at his productive peak 1990-94) played in a SEagles squad that had decent creative percentage...
In that era, Finidi, Amuneke, Oliseh, Keshi, Okocha, Ekpo, Elaho, Oliha, Adepoju, etc were decent creators from which Yeking profited...

Prior to those productive years, when the creative personnel in the SEagles were unremarkable, Yekini was not Yeking... In his first 2 AFCONS (1984 & 1988) Yekini was nothing special (notched just 2 goals)...

Oga Damunk, comparing Yeking's stats with Odegbami's stats is disingenous...Odegbami was essentially a creator; yet he scored buckets of goals...often manufacturing the goals from half-chances...that made Odegbami special...

Well said Father Tiko,for anyone to compare him with weah and likes of Eto'o stats in Nation cup is just not been honest.Weah in Liberia that he was more a MF or player and his team was just poor.Yekini really on service feed him and he will score beside that he offer little or nothing else,cant score out of nothing like w e have seen world class striker do.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:25 pm 
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cic old boy wrote:
Yekini was NOT world class!


Not even close
The only reason he looked good was because Naija had a great supporting cast
Oliseh, Okocha, Finidi, Amunike etc

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:47 pm 
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I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina

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It is some sort of irony that I’m writing this piece on the premises of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the place where I first met Rashidi Yekini some 28 years ago. And quite ironically too, I’m writing at a guesthouse some few metres away from the Sports Centre, where the young man, who was to become a household name later, first introduced himself to me.

It was in 1984, and I was in my third year as a student at what was then the University of Ife. A soccer-crazy undergraduate. Wherever the beautiful game was being played, you could reckon that I’d be there. From Ife, I went anywhere and everywhere to watch soccer, not minding the risk to life and limbs. By 1983, Coach Festus Adegboye Onigbinde had started building a new Green Eagles team. The same national team that had won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 under the Brazilian, Otto Gloria, was in tatters and disarray. It had failed to qualify for the World Cup in Spain in 1982, and had also been roundly and soundly disgraced at the African Cup of Nations in Libya, though it was the defending champion. From the peak of the mountain in 1980, Nigerian soccer was deep in the valley, mired in pedestrianism.

The Cup of Nations was ahead in Cote D’Ivoire in 1984, and Coach Onigbinde had assembled a new team. It included players like Dehinde Akinlotan, Henry Ogboe, Paul Okoku, the Olukanmi brothers, Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Yisa Sofoluwe, Clement Temile, Adegoke Adelabu, James Etokebe, Muda Lawal, Fatai Yekini, (different from Rashidi Yekini) and others. The goalkeepers were Patrick Okala (his elder brother, Emmanuel, had retired as a national goalkeeping legend), and Peter Rufai. The new Green Eagles (the team had not been re-baptised as Super Eagles then) was to play a tune up game with the University of Ife football team. Venue was the Sports Centre at Ife.

Whenever such high profile game came up, it was goodbye to anything else, yes, including lectures. How can you miss a second Christmas in the year? So, on that fateful day, the Grade A match was billed to hold, and trust me, I’d secured a vantage position in the spectators arena many hours before kick-off.
I remember that James Peters was the assistant coach to Onigbinde. He came, carrying a baby, possibly a new addition to his family then. The University of Ife team also boasted of very good players, some of them also plying their trade with either the IICC Shooting Stars Football Club, or the Water Corporation F.C, both in Ibadan. We had players like Georgy, Ekefren, Anayo Onwumechili (his father, P

rof Cyril Agodi Onwumechili had been Vice Chancellor a few years earlier, leaving Ife in our first year), Jide Abiodun, Siji Lagunju, Kayode Balogun, popularly called Zege, and son to the legendary Thunder Balogun (by the way, Zege ranks as one of the most talented footballers I’ve ever seen in this world, but he was also the most unserious). Others in the team included Femi Okenla, and one Akpan, who played in the outside right wing. A young chap called ‘Prof’ was in goal for the Ife team. He was a diploma student of Physical Education, and it was his first call to duty before us, the ‘home’ crowd of supporters.

Peter Rufai was in goal for the Green Eagles, and I recall the disdain with which he initially held the university team. In the first few minutes of the game, he refused to touch the ball with his hands. He controlled every ball that came his way with his legs. We got the non-verbal message: you these rookies, student players, what can you do? I’ve led my team, Stationery Stores, to many international victories, and I’m the number one goalkeeper in Green Eagles, so what can you do?
Soon, I think it was Anayo Onwumechili who knocked Rufai off his high horse. He unleashed a pile driver of a shot that sent the goalkeeper diving full stretch to save. The arena erupted in thunderous ovation. Rufai was almost humbled, and from that point, he knew this was no schoolboy soccer.

One characteristic of that game was the number of shots at goal. So many. The Ife team sent Peter Rufai flying, diving, clutching, parrying. It was clear that disgrace was in the offing, and the national team goalkeeper rose to the occasion.
On the Green Eagles side, there was this tall, dark player, quite unknown to even those of us who followed soccer keenly and faithfully. He packed thunder in his boots, and he was a daredevil. Looking sober and very business-like, whenever the ball got to him, he just unleashed shots, and the sound, gboa, reverberated several kilometres away. As he unleashed those canons, ‘Prof’ our goalkeeper clutched or parried, to the delight of the large crowd of students. At a point, it became like a duel between ‘Prof’ and the ebony player. He unleashed the canons, gboaaa, and ‘Prof’ would clutch or parry. At a point, the only sounds you heard in that arena were gboaa, gboaa, gboaa repeatedly, followed by rapturous cheering from the stands. The ‘mystery’ player and ‘Prof’ were really at each other’s throats.


And finally, there was that fierce and fearsome ballistic missile that ‘Prof’ couldn’t stop. The Green Eagles had been put ahead by the new kid on the block, and the match eventually ended that way.
At the blast of the final whistle, we trooped onto the field. There were two groups. One carried ‘Prof’ shoulder-high, as he was the veritable hero of the game. He had prevented what would have been a slaughter of our school team. The second group, which included me and my friend, Biodun Oloyede, (now a polytechnic administrator and soccer referee) carried the dark Green Eagles player sky-high.

“What is your name?” we chorused.
“Rashidi Yekini,” he said. He pronounced his first name as Ra-cee-di.
Raceedi Yekini. A new hero was born.
It was later we knew that he had been discovered from the United Textile Limited (UNTL) Football Club in Kaduna. You know the rest of the story. He went on to become a star player first for the ICC Shooting Stars, then Africa Sports in Abidjan, Vitoria Setubal in Portugal, and the Super Eagles. He was African Footballer of the Year in 1993, scorer of Nigeria’s first World Cup goal ever against Bulgaria in Dallas in 1994, and very many others. He became a household name, played in other countries like Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Qatar, and then retired home, where he still played with Julius Berger and Gateway F.C. Sadly, at just 48, Raceedi passed away last Friday.

It’s very painful that this sporting hero died sad, depressed, lonely. I remember that his troubles started after he got married, and it sparked off a whiff of controversy. A lady came out to say she was his legally wedded wife. Very soon, he had bagful of troubles with his new wife. They were even said to have returned home from honeymoon on separate flights. When the quality of his game began to go down thereafter, I remember somebody saying perhaps one of the scorned women had locked Rasidi’s legs in the spiritual realm, and thrown the key into the sea. How superstitious! Well, hell, indeed, hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Who do we blame for Rashidi Yekini’s travails? His family which left him abandoned, living a recluse, till it was too late? The football authorities in the country who seemingly abandoned him once he was past his prime? His friends and former colleagues? But then, he resisted all attempts at rehabilitation, cutting off all those hitherto close to him.
I remember that three weeks ago, I had met with ex-international, Segun Odegbami, on a flight. And we got talking. The previous weekend, he had written about the imminent return of Yekini in his column in The Guardian. I used the chance meeting to ask what was afoot with the king of goals (Yeking), and Odegbami gave me details. But he ended with a lamentation:

“But do you know that since I wrote that piece, I’ve not been able to communicate with Rashidi again? It’s like he just vanished.”
Now we know. Rashidi Yekini’s family had come to lead him away, manacled hands and legs, for treatment for mental troubles. Like a sheep dumb before its shearers, he uttered not a word. And few days later, the man died.
Raceedi has been buried in his Ira, Kwara State homestead. Has he now found peace? I hope so. He had none in his latter days, off the football pitch. What a troubled soul. He gave us delight through the beautiful game, but his personal life ended in a mess. That is the tragedy of Raceedi, the man who was nobody 28 years ago, but eventually became a king. The king of goals. From zero, he became a hero, and then went back to zero again. The tragedy of Rashidi is the tragedy of a king who turned round to become a pauper. What a pity!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:06 pm 
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Too much blame on the striker. Not enough attention on the fact that Nigeria creates so few chances. Lewa and Auba would struggle to score in this Nigerian team.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:16 pm 
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Yekini was special because of the WORK he puts in. He is just interested in football! He has the eye for goals. Packed some shots in his legs. Gangling and Dangling allowed him to have some burst of speed and good hold up play.

He went to lowly Setubal and did wonders.

RIP GOALSfather

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:26 pm 
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kajifu wrote:
FATHER TIKO wrote:
Yeking was special because he could strike the ball...period.
The goal-posts in Tunisia are still rattling from Yekini's cannon in AFCON1994...

But Yekini wasn't the world-class striker who could manufacture a goal out of nothing...or capitalise on a half-chance...
Yekini needed to be fed...

Yeking (at his productive peak 1990-94) played in a SEagles squad that had decent creative percentage...
In that era, Finidi, Amuneke, Oliseh, Keshi, Okocha, Ekpo, Elaho, Oliha, Adepoju, etc were decent creators from which Yeking profited...

Prior to those productive years, when the creative personnel in the SEagles were unremarkable, Yekini was not Yeking... In his first 2 AFCONS (1984 & 1988) Yekini was nothing special (notched just 2 goals)...

Oga Damunk, comparing Yeking's stats with Odegbami's stats is disingenous...Odegbami was essentially a creator; yet he scored buckets of goals...often manufacturing the goals from half-chances...that made Odegbami special...

Well said Father Tiko,for anyone to compare him with weah and likes of Eto'o stats in Nation cup is just not been honest.Weah in Liberia that he was more a MF or player and his team was just poor.Yekini really on service feed him and he will score beside that he offer little or nothing else,cant score out of nothing like w e have seen world class striker do.

I don't think you know much about Yekini's entire career.
Yes, he created goals out of nothing. He scored with the head, he scored from free-kicks (Ask Congo & ask the then Zaire at Tunisia 94, ask Iwuanyanwu Nationale when he came to town with Africa Sports, ask Esperance of Tunisia), he scored from impossible angle (go and ask about Nigeria vs Algeria at the National Stadium).
Talking about Yekini waiting to be fed, again you guys don't know much about him. Yekini's career was not limited to the Eagles. At SE level, the change in Yekini's approach was first noticed at Algeria 1990 where we lost our first match 5-1 and with the support of Friday Elaho picked the team up and dragged us to the final with some unbelievable goals. Yes, we had good midfielders around the time Yekini peaked but he was also delivering at the same rate at Victoria Setubal, a mid-table clubside in Portugal. It could be argued that Yekini brought out the best in our midfielders with his battling approach and good positioning. Even if Nigeria failed to score with Yekini, the opponents never had rest for 90 minutes - not Italy, not Argentina, not Cameroon. He battled them all.
*For those of you whose only knowledge of Yekini was USA 94 and France 98, you did not see much of that man. At USA 94, the team was in crisis but the cracks were papered over. Also, Yekini had a serious marital crisis that would have 'crashed' the social media in today's world.

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Last edited by YemiBrazil on Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:28 pm 
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The goalsfather! Enough said


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:14 pm 
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Wow!
This story really resonates because it is so true and reading Femi Adesina's writeup just made my day. I was at the Unife Sports Center that day and had also secured my seat hours before the game. Patrick Okpomo? (NFA Sec Gen at the time) and the Unife Coach, Wole Ajaja, were very good friends. Coach Onigbinde had taught at the Unife Staff School years before he became a football coach and thus, it made sense at the time why the Green Eagles would have a scrimage against the Unife team.

What the writer said about Racheedi is also true. As a matter of fact, I had actually seen him play prior to that Unife match while I was in Kaduna, when DIC Bees (renamed Ranchers Bees) and UNTL played. That was a big game in Kaduna at the time, since both clubs were the two biggest clubs in Kaduna at the time and I remember the match being dubbed 'Argentina vs Brazil' (according to the fans, one team played like Brazil and the other had an Argentine coach). Anyhow, two players stood out for me in that game - Racheedi Yekini and Ayo Ogunlana. The match ended in a draw but I did take notice of him and was impressed with his performance that day.

It was a fierce battle between Yekini and Prof that day. Many gallant performances by the Unife lads, including Anayo (who actually is our very own CE Enugu II's younger brother) and our goalie 'Prof' were fantastic that day. One other important point that day was Zege (Kayode Balogun - Thunder Balogun's son) took Stephen Keshi (RIP) to school that day! He dribbled the crap out of him, to the extent that Keshi feigned an injury and had to be replaced. Word also had it that Zege used the great Keshi to enter the Green Eagles camp, as Coach Onigbinde invited him on account of his performance that day. . However, he was injury prone and never really was able to showcase his greatness as a striker.

We have has and produced great players in the past who worked really hard at their craft. The problem these days is the younger players just want to make the big bucks without putting in the effort. How to change that mindset is the big problem I see.

Anyway...

folem wrote:
I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina

Quote:
It is some sort of irony that I’m writing this piece on the premises of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the place where I first met Rashidi Yekini some 28 years ago. And quite ironically too, I’m writing at a guesthouse some few metres away from the Sports Centre, where the young man, who was to become a household name later, first introduced himself to me.

It was in 1984, and I was in my third year as a student at what was then the University of Ife. A soccer-crazy undergraduate. Wherever the beautiful game was being played, you could reckon that I’d be there. From Ife, I went anywhere and everywhere to watch soccer, not minding the rise to life and limbs. By 1983, Coach Festus Adegboye Onigbinde had started building a new Green Eagles team. The same national team that had won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 under the Brazilian, Otto Gloria, was in tatters and disarray. It had failed to qualify for the World Cup in Spain in 1982, and had also been roundly and soundly disgraced at the African Cup of Nations in Libya, though it was the defending champion. From the peak of the mountain in 1980, Nigerian soccer was deep in the valley, mired in pedestrianism.

The Cup of Nations was ahead in Cote D’Ivoire in 1984, and Coach Onigbinde had assembled a new team. It included players like Dehinde Akinlotan, Henry Ogboe, Paul Okoku, the Olukanmi brothers, Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Yisa Sofoluwe, Clement Temile, Adegoke Adelabu, James Etokebe, Muda Lawal, Fatai Yekini, (different from Rashidi Yekini) and others. The goalkeepers were Patrick Okala (his elder brother, Emmanuel, had retired as a national goalkeeping legend), and Peter Rufai. The new Green Eagles (the team had not been re-baptised as Super Eagles then) was to play a tune up game with the University of Ife football team. Venue was the Sports Centre at Ife.

Whenever such high profile game came up, it was goodbye to anything else, yes, including lectures. How can you miss a second Christmas in the year? So, on that fateful day, the Grade A match was billed to hold, and trust me, I’d secured a vantage position in the spectators arena many hours before kick-off.
I remember that James Peters was the assistant coach to Onigbinde. He came, carrying a baby, possibly a new addition to his family then. The University of Ife team also boasted of very good players, some of them also plying their trade with either the IICC Shooting Stars Football Club, or the Water Corporation F.C, both in Ibadan. We had players like Georgy, Ekefren, Anayo Onwumechili (his father, P

rof Cyril Agodi Onwumechili had been Vice Chancellor a few years earlier, leaving Ife in our first year), Jide Abiodun, Siji Lagunju, Kayode Balogun, popularly called Zege, and son to the legendary Thunder Balogun (by the way, Zege ranks as one of the most talented footballers I’ve ever seen in this world, but he was also the most unserious). Others in the team included Femi Okenla, and one Akpan, who played in the outside right wing. A young chap called ‘Prof’ was in goal for the Ife team. He was a diploma student of Physical Education, and it was his first call to duty before us, the ‘home’ crowd of supporters.

Peter Rufai was in goal for the Green Eagles, and I recall the disdain with which he initially held the university team. In the first few minutes of the game, he refused to touch the ball with his hands. He controlled every ball that came his way with his legs. We got the non-verbal message: you these rookies, student players, what can you do? I’ve led my team, Stationery Stores, to many international victories, and I’m the number one goalkeeper in Green Eagles, so what can you do?
Soon, I think it was Anayo Onwumechili who knocked Rufai off his high horse. He unleashed a pile driver of a shot that sent the goalkeeper diving full stretch to save. The arena erupted in thunderous ovation. Rufai was almost humbled, and from that point, he knew this was no schoolboy soccer.

One characteristic of that game was the number of shots at goal. So many. The Ife team sent Peter Rufai flying, diving, clutching, parrying. It was clear that disgrace was in the offing, and the national team goalkeeper rose to the occasion.
On the Green Eagles side, there was this tall, dark player, quite unknown to even those of us who followed soccer keenly and faithfully. He packed thunder in his boots, and he was a daredevil. Looking sober and very business-like, whenever the ball got to him, he just unleashed shots, and the sound, gboa, reverberated several kilometres away. As he unleashed those canons, ‘Prof’ our goalkeeper clutched or parried, to the delight of the large crowd of students. At a point, it became like a duel between ‘Prof’ and the ebony player. He unleashed the canons, gboaaa, and ‘Prof’ would clutch or parry. At a point, the only sounds you heard in that arena were gboaa, gboaa, gboaa repeatedly, followed by rapturous cheering from the stands. The ‘mystery’ player and ‘Prof’ were really at each other’s throats.


And finally, there was that fierce and fearsome ballistic missile that ‘Prof’ couldn’t stop. The Green Eagles had been put ahead by the new kid on the block, and the match eventually ended that way.
At the blast of the final whistle, we trooped onto the field. There were two groups. One carried ‘Prof’ shoulder-high, as he was the veritable hero of the game. He had prevented what would have been a slaughter of our school team. The second group, which included me and my friend, Biodun Oloyede, (now a polytechnic administrator and soccer referee) carried the dark Green Eagles player sky-high.

“What is your name?” we chorused.
“Rashidi Yekini,” he said. He pronounced his first name as Ra-cee-di.
Raceedi Yekini. A new hero was born.
It was later we knew that he had been discovered from the United Textile Limited (UNTL) Football Club in Kaduna. You know the rest of the story. He went on to become a star player first for the ICC Shooting Stars, then Africa Sports in Abidjan, Vitoria Setubal in Portugal, and the Super Eagles. He was African Footballer of the Year in 1993, scorer of Nigeria’s first World Cup goal ever against Bulgaria in Dallas in 1994, and very many others. He became a household name, played in other countries like Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Qatar, and then retired home, where he still played with Julius Berger and Gateway F.C. Sadly, at just 48, Raceedi passed away last Friday.

It’s very painful that this sporting hero died sad, depressed, lonely. I remember that his troubles started after he got married, and it sparked off a whiff of controversy. A lady came out to say she was his legally wedded wife. Very soon, he had bagful of troubles with his new wife. They were even said to have returned home from honeymoon on separate flights. When the quality of his game began to go down thereafter, I remember somebody saying perhaps one of the scorned women had locked Rasidi’s legs in the spiritual realm, and thrown the key into the sea. How superstitious! Well, hell, indeed, hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Who do we blame for Rashidi Yekini’s travails? His family which left him abandoned, living a recluse, till it was too late? The football authorities in the country who seemingly abandoned him once he was past his prime? His friends and former colleagues? But then, he resisted all attempts at rehabilitation, cutting off all those hitherto close to him.
I remember that three weeks ago, I had met with ex-international, Segun Odegbami, on a flight. And we got talking. The previous weekend, he had written about the imminent return of Yekini in his column in The Guardian. I used the chance meeting to ask what was afoot with the king of goals (Yeking), and Odegbami gave me details. But he ended with a lamentation:

“But do you know that since I wrote that piece, I’ve not been able to communicate with Rashidi again? It’s like he just vanished.”
Now we know. Rashidi Yekini’s family had come to lead him away, manacled hands and legs, for treatment for mental troubles. Like a sheep dumb before its shearers, he uttered not a word. And few days later, the man died.
Raceedi has been buried in his Ira, Kwara State homestead. Has he now found peace? I hope so. He had none in his latter days, off the football pitch. What a troubled soul. He gave us delight through the beautiful game, but his personal life ended in a mess. That is the tragedy of Raceedi, the man who was nobody 28 years ago, but eventually became a king. The king of goals. From zero, he became a hero, and then went back to zero again. The tragedy of Rashidi is the tragedy of a king who turned round to become a pauper. What a pity!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:37 am 
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Umar Sadiq looks like the closest we have ever had to him...



Good dribbling skills, seems 2 footed as well.
Not sure how good he is in the air
But i am liking this guy the more i look at him.
Hopefully he will have a breakout season at Rangers if the reported interest in him solidifies.

Big and strong but may need to add a bit more muscle to help him sheild the ball the way he likes to against top class defenders.
Our next top striker should come from this group

Victor Osimen
Umar Sadiq
Simi Nwankwo

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:42 am 
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Rawlings wrote:
cic old boy wrote:
Yekini was NOT world class!


Not even close
The only reason he looked good was because Naija had a great supporting cast
Oliseh, Okocha, Finidi, Amunike etc


THIS IS ALMOST AS SAYING MUNTARI AND ASAMOAH MADE ABEDI PELE LOOK GOOD..............THE YEKINI THAT PLAYED WITH FINIDI AND DEM WAS ALMOST AT A RETIREMENT AGE.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:42 am 
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cic old boy wrote:
Damunk wrote:

He scored 38 goals in 57 appearances for Nigeria.
That's a goal ratio of 0.67.
In short, he scored two goals in every three games he played for the country.

By comparison with other African greats, George Weah scored 22 goals in 60 appearances for Liberia (goal ratio 0.37) and Samuel Etoo scored 58 goals in 118 appearances for Cameroun (goal ratio 0.47). Our own Odegbami scored 22 goals in 47 SE appearance, a goal ratio of 0.47

So do you really want to diminish these facts - African arena or not?
By the time he played in France '98 Yekini was way past his peak which was really between 1990-1994.
But he was still the best we had at the time.

Stats do not tell the whole story. The likes of Weah and Eto'o are seen as greats b/c of performances at club level (mainly AC Milan and Barca). You really can't judge Weah's goal-scoring exploits for Liberia without factoring in the quality of the team. On many occasions he played in midfield for them b/c there was no one to pass him the ball if he stayed upfront. Most of Odegbami's games for Nigeria were as a winger. So his stats are quite impressive.
CIC, like i said earlier, this isnt realy about comparing legendary African players.
My only reason for putting out those stats is to simply give some context to what Yekini achieved in his role as a striker. I don't think you'd argue with me that we'd all give our right arms and legs to have Yekini in our team today.
So my question remains simply: what was it about him that has made it difficult to replace in 25 years?

One quick aside on Odegbami: 'Uncle Sege' was primarily a right winger as you rightly said, but because of his goalscoring record, he was played several times in a central striking position - which wasnt his natural position but still worked to an extent. He needed the space on the wings to be most effective. I remember that a good number of his goals were headers which wasn't common then.

I obviously have great respect for Odegbami but have always maintained that I feel Finidi George was a better right winger - a point we have disagreed on and debated for years.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:47 am 
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heavyd wrote:
Umar Sadiq looks like the closest we have ever had to him...



Good dribbling skills, seems 2 footed as well.
Not sure how good he is in the air
But i am liking this guy the more i look at him.
Hopefully he will have a breakout season at Rangers if the reported interest in him solidifies.

Big and strong but may need to add a bit more muscle to help him sheild the ball the way he likes to against top class defenders.
Our next top striker should come from this group

Victor Osimen
Umar Sadiq
Simi Nwankwo
He's actually getting stronger as he's getting older.
Even since the recent Olympics, he has added more strength and stability to his game.

However, FOR A STRIKER, THIS VIDEO DOES HIM NO FAVOURS!!!!! :boo:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:53 am 
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Rawlings wrote:
cic old boy wrote:
Yekini was NOT world class!


Not even close
The only reason he looked good was because Naija had a great supporting cast
Oliseh, Okocha, Finidi, Amunike etc


Did you check his clubs records?

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