Rashidi Yekini

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Rashidi Yekini
Personal information
Date of birth (1963-10-23)23 October 1963
Place of birth Kaduna, Nigeria
Date of death 4 May 2012(2012-05-04) (aged 48)
Place of death Ibadan, Nigeria
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1982 UNTL Kaduna
1982–1984 Shooting Stars 53 (45)
1984–1987 Abiola Babes
1987–1990 Africa Sports
1990–1994 Vitória Setúbal 108 (90)
1994–1995 Olympiacos 4 (2)
1995–1996 Sporting Gijón 14 (3)
1997 Vitória Setúbal 14 (3)
1997–1998 Zürich 28 (14)
1998–1999 Bizerte
1999 Al-Shabab
1999–2002 Africa Sports
2002–2003 Julius Berger
2005 Gateway 26 (7)
National team
1984–1998 Nigeria 58 (37)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Rashidi Yekini (23 October 1963 – 4 May 2012) was a Nigerian footballer who played as a striker.

His professional career, which spanned more than two decades, was mainly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, but he also played in six other countries his own notwithstanding.[1]

Yekini scored 37 goals as a Nigerian international, and represented the nation in five major tournaments, including two World Cups where he scored the country's first-ever goal in the competition. He was also named the African Footballer of the Year once.[2][3]

Club career[edit]

Yekini was born in Kaduna. After starting his professional career in the Nigerian league, he moved to Côte d'Ivoire to play for Africa Sports National, and from there he went to Portugal and Vitória de Setúbal where he experienced his most memorable years, eventually becoming the first division's top scorer in the 1993–94 season after scoring 21 goals; the previous campaign he had netted a career-best 34 in 32 games to help the Sadinos promote from the second level, and those performances earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1993, the first ever from the nation.

In the 1994 summer Yekini was bought by Olympiacos FC, but did not get along with teammates and left. His career never really got back on track, not even upon a return to Setúbal, which happened after another unassuming spell, in La Liga with Sporting de Gijón; he successively played with FC Zürich, Club Athlétique Bizertin and Al-Shabab Riyadh, before rejoining Africa Sports. In 2003, at 39, he returned to the Nigerian championship with Julius Berger FC.

In 2005, 41-year-old Yekini made a short comeback, moving alongside former national teammate Mobi Oparaku to Gateway United FC.

International career[edit]

Scoring 37 goals for Nigeria in 58 appearances,[4] Yekini was the national record goalscorer. He was part of the team that participated in the 1994 (where he netted Nigeria's first-ever goal in a World Cup, in a 3–0 win against Bulgaria, his celebration after netting becoming one of the iconic images of the tournament[5]) and the 1998 FIFA World Cups.

Additionally, Yekini helped the Super Eagles win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations where he also topped the goal charts and was named best player of the tournament. He also participated at Olympic level in Seoul 1988.

Death[edit]

Yekini was reported to be ill for an extended period of time. In 2011, news media in Nigeria begun issuing reports of his failing health, and he was said to suffer from bipolar disorder, depression and some other undisclosed neurological condition. He died in Ibadan on 4 May 2012 at the age of only 48,[2] the news being confirmed by former national teammates Mutiu Adepoju and Ike Shorunmu.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nigerian football legend, Rashidi Yekini, dies at 49; The Times of Nigeria, 4 May 2012
  2. ^ a b "Obituary: Rashidi Yekini (1963–2012)". Yahoo! Sports. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Nigeria: Legendary footballer, Rashidi Yekini dies at 48; All Africa, 5 May 2012
  4. ^ "Rashidi Yekini – International Goals". RSSSF. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup goal & Rashidi Yekini's five most memorable moments". Goal.com. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Rashidi Yekini dead: Ex-players react". Tribune. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 

External links[edit]