Yekini in 1998
|Date of birth||23 October 1963|
|Place of birth||Kaduna, Nigeria|
|Date of death||4 May 2012(aged 48)|
|Place of death||Ibadan, Nigeria|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Yekini scored 37 goals as a Nigerian international footballer, and represented the nation in seven 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 in 1993.
Yekini was born in Kaduna, of Yoruba origin. 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 Primeira Liga'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 division, and those performances earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year once, the first ever for the nation.
In the summer of 1994, Yekini was bought by Olympiacos FC, but did not get along with teammates and left soon after. 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, aged 39, he returned to the Nigerian championship with Julius Berger FC.
Scoring 37 goals for Nigeria in 62 appearances, Yekini is 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 scoring, crying while holding the goal's net, became one of the iconic images of the tournament) and the 1998 FIFA World Cups.
Additionally, Yekini helped the Super Eagles win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia where he also topped the goal charts and was named best player of the competition. He also participated at Olympic level in Seoul 1988.
- Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first.
|1||6 April 1985||Nairobi, Kenya||Kenya||3-0||1986 World Cup qualification||1|
|2||20 April 1985||Lagos, Nigeria||Kenya||3-1||1986 World Cup qualification||1|
|3||23 June 1985||Abidjan, Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast||1-1||Friendly||1|
|4||26 June 1985||Bouake, Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast||1-1||Friendly||1|
|5||14 March 1988||Rabat, Morocco||Kenya||3-0||1988 African Cup of Nations||1|
|6||5 March 1990||Algiers, Algeria||Egypt||1-0||1990 African Cup of Nations||1|
|7||8 March 1990||Algiers, Algeria||Ivory Coast||1-0||1990 African Cup of Nations||1|
|8||12 March 1990||Algiers, Algeria||Zambia||2-0||1990 African Cup of Nations||1|
|9, 10, 11, 12||27 July 1991||Lagos, Nigeria||Burkina Faso||7-1||1992 African Cup of Nations qualification||4|
|13, 14||14 January 1992||Dakar, Senegal||Kenya||2-1||1992 African Cup of Nations||2|
|15||19 January 1992||Dakar, Senegal||Zaire||1-0||1992 African Cup of Nations||1|
|16||25 January 1992||Dakar, Senegal||Cameroon||2-1||1992 African Cup of Nations||1|
|17, 18||10 October 1992||Lagos, Nigeria||South Africa||4-0||1994 World Cup qualification||2|
|19||20 December 1992||Pointe-Noire, Congo||Congo||1-0||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
|20||24 April 1993||Enugu, Nigeria||Sudan||2-1||1994 African Cup of Nations qualification||1|
|21||10 October 1992||Abidjan, Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast||1-2||1994 World Cup qualification||1|
|22, 23||20 December 1992||Lagos, Nigeria||Algeria||4-1||1994 World Cup qualification||2|
|24, 25, 26||24 July 1993||Lagos, Nigeria||Ethiopia||6-0||1994 African Cup of Nations qualification||3|
|27, 28||25 September 1993||Lagos, Nigeria||Ivory Coast||4-1||1994 World Cup qualification||2|
|29, 30||26 March 1994||Tunis, Tunisia||Gabon||3-0||1994 African Cup of Nations||2|
|31, 32||2 April 1994||Tunis, Tunisia||Zaire||2-0||1994 African Cup of Nations||2|
|33||6 April 1994||Tunis, Tunisia||Ivory Coast||2-2||1994 African Cup of Nations||1|
|34, 35||11 June 1994||Ibadan, Nigeria||Georgia||5-1||Friendly||2|
|36||21 June 1994||Dallas, United States||Bulgaria||3-0||1994 FIFA World Cup||1|
|37||22 February 1998||Kingston, Jamaica||Jamaica||2-2||Friendly||1|
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 psychiatric condition. He died in Ibadan on 4 May 2012 at the young age of 48, the news being confirmed by former national teammates Mutiu Adepoju and Ike Shorunmu; he was buried at his residence in Ira, Kwara State. He was survived by his aged mother, brother, wives and children, among others.
- Nigerian football legend, Rashidi Yekini, dies at 49; The Times of Nigeria, 4 May 2012
- "Obituary: Rashidi Yekini (1963–2012)". Yahoo Sports. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Nigeria: Legendary footballer, Rashidi Yekini dies at 48; All Africa, 5 May 2012
- "Odegbami: Remembering Gangling Rashidi Yekini". Complete Sports. Retrieved 13 December 2019.[permanent dead link]
- "Portugal – List of Topscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- "African Player of the Year 1993". RSSSF. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- "El Sporting remonta dos veces" [Sporting comes back from behind twice] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 30 October 2005. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- "Yekini set for another return". BBC Sport. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- "Rashidi Yekini – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- "Nigeria's first-ever World Cup goal & Rashidi Yekini's five most memorable moments". Goal. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Rashidi Yekini: 'One of the best African players ever to walk this earth'". The Guardian. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
- "The agony of Rashidi Yekini's three-year old daughter". Premium Times. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "I want my father's death investigated — Yemisi Yekini". The Punch. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "Rashidi Yekini dead: Ex-players react". Tribune. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- "An era ends: Rashidi Yekini buried in Kwara as hundreds weep". Premium Times. May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015.