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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:35 pm 
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I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina
Posted by bobolukoya - 11 Friday May 2012

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!



Oloye, this is your kind of article. A very interesting read.


https://bobolukoya.wordpress.com/2012/05/


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:56 pm 
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:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Laughing at work and they are wondering why. For a minute i thought i wrote this :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Thoroughly enjoyable. This is how to record history it is captivating. The sound of gboa gboa, now i wish i was there, because that is how the balls of those days sound when they got hit by someone who knows how to unleash bulalala.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:20 pm 
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Very lovely piece. That was when college/University football was at a high level to have deserved a friendly with the national team. May Allah forgive Rasheed Yekini and grant him paradise.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:45 pm 
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oloye wrote:
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: Laughing at work and they are wondering why. For a minute i thought i wrote this :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Thoroughly enjoyable. This is how to record history it is captivating. The sound of gboa gboa, now i wish i was there, because that is how the balls of those days sound when they got hit by someone who knows how to unleash bulalala.


I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:47 pm 
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This is incredible.
Mr. Iworo, I believe I was at this game in Ife. My uncle was a Physiology Professor then & he took me to the game. What a game it was.
You had me tearing up this morning just thinking about Rashid Yekini. Such a humble man!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:19 pm 
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Excellent read, thanks for sharing. My dad once stood in line behind Rashidi Yekini at the arrival hall at Murtala and he had such good things to say about Yeking after that chance meeting. It was around 1996. Yeking was jovial, cracking jokes and telling stories. Unbelievable what happened to him in the end. RIP.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:45 pm 
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fledy wrote:
This is incredible.
Mr. Iworo, I believe I was at this game in Ife. My uncle was a Physiology Professor then & he took me to the game. What a game it was.
You had me tearing up this morning just thinking about Rashid Yekini. Such a humble man!

Fledy , you should tell us about when you played against Matthew Onyeama for Tedder hall and the manhandling he gave you :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:01 pm 
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BAP wrote:
fledy wrote:
This is incredible.
Mr. Iworo, I believe I was at this game in Ife. My uncle was a Physiology Professor then & he took me to the game. What a game it was.
You had me tearing up this morning just thinking about Rashid Yekini. Such a humble man!

Fledy , you should tell us about when you played against Matthew Onyeama for Tedder hall and the manhandling he gave you :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Fledy was one of the most talented footballers I have ever seen. He was nicknamed "igbin" which is snail in Yoruba because he was very slippery, defenders could not stop him from dribbling them.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:14 pm 
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iworo wrote:
I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina
Posted by bobolukoya - 11 Friday May 2012

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!



Oloye, this is your kind of article. A very interesting read.

Wonderful piece! Oloye et al should compile these kinds of stories into a book o.


https://bobolukoya.wordpress.com/2012/05/


isn't the highlighted our own Enugu II?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:22 pm 
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Dammy wrote:
BAP wrote:
fledy wrote:
This is incredible.
Mr. Iworo, I believe I was at this game in Ife. My uncle was a Physiology Professor then & he took me to the game. What a game it was.
You had me tearing up this morning just thinking about Rashid Yekini. Such a humble man!

Fledy , you should tell us about when you played against Matthew Onyeama for Tedder hall and the manhandling he gave you :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Fledy was one of the most talented footballers I have ever seen. He was nicknamed "igbin" which is snail in Yoruba because he was very slippery, defenders could not stop him from dribbling them.

Until Onyeama showed him that Khaki no be Leda :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

He was very fast too so its ironic that he was called Igbin :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:41 pm 
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So we are just gonna pretend that we don't know that the zookites have... Oops I mean Zikites have taken over this thread. So BAP na UI of Ibadan you go sef

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:49 pm 
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oloye wrote:
So we are just gonna pretend that we don't know that the zookites have... Oops I mean Zikites have taken over this thread. So BAP na UI of Ibadan you go sef

I go UI of Ilorin and then UI of Ibadan after that I go wan you UI for Virginia and then another UI for New York ... :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:35 pm 
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good write up, football back then was like gold, however i very much doubt iworo wrote the article

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:10 pm 
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BAP & Dammy, that day wey I face Onyeama no be small wahala. That dude worked me so much that day I was in a maze.
He was such a cerebral player. Zik had Emmanuel Akpan & Folorunsho Okenla then.
BAP but you forgot one thing though, we won 2-1 (We were lucky) Hahahaha!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:23 pm 
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Tedder was the Brazil of UI but Indy didnt do too bad considering we didnt enroll mercenaries like Zooites

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:28 pm 
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Chief Ogbunigwe wrote:
iworo wrote:
I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina
Posted by bobolukoya - 11 Friday May 2012

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!



Oloye, this is your kind of article. A very interesting read.

Wonderful piece! Oloye et al should compile these kinds of stories into a book o.


https://bobolukoya.wordpress.com/2012/05/


isn't the highlighted our own Enugu II?


Chief,

That is not me ooo. That is my younger brother. That was a nice piece to read.

_________________
The difficulties of statistical thinking describes a puzzling limitation of our mind: our excessive confidence in what we believe we know, and our apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in. We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events -- Daniel Kahneman (2011), Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:25 pm 
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Enugu II wrote:
Chief Ogbunigwe wrote:
iworo wrote:
I knew Rashidi Yekini as a nobody – Femi Adesina
Posted by bobolukoya - 11 Friday May 2012

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!



Oloye, this is your kind of article. A very interesting read.

Wonderful piece! Oloye et al should compile these kinds of stories into a book o.


https://bobolukoya.wordpress.com/2012/05/


isn't the highlighted our own Enugu II?


Chief,

That is not me ooo. That is my younger brother. That was a nice piece to read.

So that troublesome OAU striker na ya brother, e too worry and I kicked some sense into him. Himself and Lati his striking partner. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:29 pm 
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Posts: 2450
Prince wrote:
Tedder was the Brazil of UI but Indy didnt do too bad considering we didnt enroll mercenaries like Zooites

For where .. more like the ajebotas of ui

Tedder and mellanby were the only halls ladies could visit without being harassed :mrgreen:

That said they did have a few good ballers like fledi and jide olugbodi whom baba Onigbinde invited to camp in 2002 where he was listed as age 21 even though he was playing for Tedder back in 1989 meaning he would have been 8 when he was playing for Tedder :mrgreen:


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