Was not creative but powerful
Was not mesmerizing but astonishing
Was not charismatic but magnetic
Was not charming but charging
Was not skillful but heroic
Was not godfather but goals – father
Was not cerebral but celebrity
…His goals took to the World Cup Finals for the first time in 1994
He scored Nigeria’s first ever World Cup goal.
His goals to us to Tunisia ’94 Nations Cup Finals where he was the highest goal scorer and Nigeria lifted the trophy for second time since 1980.
Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Algeria will forever be remembering Yekini for the injuries he inflicted on them with his ruthless goals during Nations Cup Finals and World Cup qualifiers!
Nobody really knew what happened to Yekini as he behaved like one suffering from mental illness. He lived an absolutely exclusive life in Ibadan, not associating with anybody!!! He even gave away his household equipment, insisting “they were worthless things”.
Rashidi Yekini had fantastic 60 caps for Nigeria and scored 37 electrifying goals for Nigeria. Remarkably, 13 of those goals were in the Nations Cup. Thus he was set to upsetting Cote d’Ivoire’s Poku’s all time Nations Cup goals had Nigeria attended the South Africa ’96 Nations Cup Finals but General Sani Abacha pulled Nigeria out.
Yekini’s debut game was a Nations Cup qualifier against Ghana away on October 30, 1983. His last game was the ill fated June 28, France ’98 second round encounter against Denmark.
Probably, what may go down as Yekini’s BEST goal ever was his net burst range against Cote d’Ivoire in a USA ’94 World Cup qualifier in Lagos on September 28, 1983. The game was already going well for Nigeria as Yekini himself and Amokachi had registered their names in scorers sheet. But then, the ball rolled to the right side and Yekini went for it, got it and from what is usually called impossible angle, where all were expecting a pullout, he took a direct shot. Astonishingly, the ball sailed straight into the net for Nigeria’s goal number three.
Sadly, Yekini died mysteriously. May his soul continue to rest in peace.
By Ori Martins