Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria's record scorer remembered 10 years on

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Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria's record scorer remembered 10 years on

Post by Bigpokey24 »

https://www.fifa.com/fifaplus/en/watch/ ... nlTxizbYX0


Rashidi Yekini - who died 10 years ago - was a man who "gave his all" to Nigeria but was quickly forgotten by his country, according to former international team-mates Sunday Oliseh and Victor Ikpeba.

Yekini, 48, was reportedly kidnapped shortly before he passed away, but the cause of his death is still unclear ten years later.

Police in Oyo State, where the striker was living when he died, told the BBC shortly after his death that no investigation was opened.

A decade on, there is pride in the achievements of the 1993 African Footballer of the Year yet sadness at his death and anger at the way he had been treated by the government and football authorities.

"What I find very sad is not just that there's no closure about his passing, but that for all the man did for our country he deserves to always be remembered," fellow Super Eagles star Oliseh told BBC Sport Africa.

"It's not encouraging because one of the most interesting things about people who served their nations is that one wants to be remembered for the sacrifices you've made. That is why I find it very unfortunate that priority is not given to remember Yekini, who gave his all to our country."


Tributes paid to Rashidi Yekini
Yekini's death prompts anger and reflection
The prolific striker played a key role in some of his country's greatest moments on the pitch, ending top scorer at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations as Nigeria won their second continental crown.

Yekini is still the Super Eagles' all-time leading scorer with 37 goals and is third on the list of Nations Cup scorers, wit his tally of 13 strikes at the finals only bettered by Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o (18) and Ivory Coast's Laurent Pokou (14).

He also scored his country's first ever World Cup goal in 1994, against Bulgaria, famously celebrating with his clenched fists punched through the net in exultation, which became an iconic image of both the tournament and of the man.

Nigeria's Rashidi Yekini celebrates a goal against Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup in the USA
Yekini and Nigeria were knocked out of the 1994 World Cup by eventual runners-up Italy
Ikpeba, who was also in Nigeria's 1994 Nations Cup-winning team, is still upset there was no full investigation into Yekini's death.

"A lot of things could have been done to give closure to his family, fans and the country," the 1997 African Footballer of the Year, 48, told BBC Sport Africa.

"It's shocking because it's 10 years and nobody knows how he died. So who do we blame - the police, his state government or the federal government? These are the questions I ask myself.

"I know he was a Muslim and was buried within 24 hours as practiced in his religion, but an autopsy could have been carried out to tell us what happened to him. Sadly, we failed him when he was alive and in death. That is not how a legend like Yekini should be remembered."

'The best striker Nigeria ever had'
His international career aside, Yekini was also prolific at club level - seeing huge success with Shooting Stars of Nigeria, Ivory Coast's Africa Sport and Vitoria Setubal of Portugal, amongst others.

He helped Shooting Stars reach the final of the African Champions Cup (forerunner of the African Champions League) in 1984 and made his debut for Nigeria the same year.

His final international outings came at the 1998 World Cup, and he once confronted a club coach who had questioned his frequent trips to represent the West African nation.

"There was a time I learnt that my [club] coach was complaining in the press that I went too often to play for Nigeria and that it affected his plans," Yekini once said.

"I told him nobody can stop me from playing for my fatherland. This is where my people love me - not only because I score goals, but because I am their son. Even if Nigeria has a fixture against ants and cockroaches and I am invited, I will go and play."

Yekini lived a reclusive life after he quit football for good in 2005 following a spell back in the Nigerian league.

He aggressively shunned the media limelight and turned down several offers to be part of the country's football in other capacities, rejecting the chance to be a Nigerian football ambassador to the 2010 World Cup - a move which was never explained.

Rashidi Yekini in action for Nigeria against Zambia in 1994
Yekini (left) was part of the Nigeria side which beat Zambia in the 1994 Nations Cup final
However, Oliseh and Ikpeba, who both won Olympic football gold with Nigeria in 1996, said Yekini was given no support by Nigeria's football establishment when he needed it most.

"He always kept to himself but came alive during training sessions and matches for his country. A wonderful human and team-mate. Somewhat withdrawn, but that was his nature," recalled Ikpeba.

"He was not one to dwell on negative things around the team but just happy to play for the national team instead. Yekini needed help, but the entire football community failed him.

"I'm glad there was a posthumous recognition given to him by the Confederation of African Football, thanks to Anthony Baffoe, which Yekini's daughter attended. But here in Nigeria, we have nothing to remember him by at state or federal level, I am deeply sad."

Former captain Oliseh, 47, echoes Ikpeba's sentiments, adding: "What have we done to honour him? Do kids growing up know anything about the man or his incredible achievements?

"He's the best striker Nigeria ever had, and he proved it in so many ways. For that reason, I feel extremely sad there is no proper commemoration to honour him.

"As a team-mate I will always remember and cherish him for everything he did. But I believe a lot more could have been done for the man."

Apart from a recognition award given to the class of 1994 by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in 2019, with the striker's daughter picking up his plaque, there has been no commemoration of Yekini by the organisation.

A top official of the NFF declined to comment on the subject, while the body's outgoing president Amaju Pinnick was not available for comment.


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Re: Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria's record scorer remembered 10 years on

Post by YemiBrazil »

Wow! 10 years just like that?

Rest on Baba Yekini!
So many sad issues raised in that article. We are strange.
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Re: Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria's record scorer remembered 10 years on

Post by Lolly »

Ten years already. Still some unanswered questions.
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Re: Rashidi Yekini: Nigeria's record scorer remembered 10 years on

Post by Enugu II »

It says a lot that a decade later HE STILL IS Nigeria's highest goal scorer not only in total goals by check his per game scoring ratio. He never played in the much vaunted BIG FIVE. ....Yet. No one else was or IS better.
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
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