Two-time African footballer of the year, the legendary Rashidi Yekini whose illustrious career saw him rise to stardom in the 90’s died today, after succumbing to mental illness.
Family sources reported that Yekini had been ill for two years and was often walking barefeet on the streets of Ibadan at times talking to himself. Fans reported that he suffered delusions.
Rashidi Yekini would be remembered for his first magnificent goal at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US that took Nigeria through to the next round. He scored the first goal that saw Nigeria defeat Bulgaria 3-0 at the fiesta.
Born in Kaduna Yekini began his career in the Nigerian local league, and later moving to Cote D’Ivoire to play for the Africa Sports National football team, thereafter he moved to the Portuguese first division between 1993-94. His superlative performances as a striker with the Nigerian Super Eagles team earned him the title of “Africa Footballer of the Year” in 1993.
In 1994 Yekini helped turn the fortune of the Super Eagles around at the Africa Cup of Nations where he topped the goal chart. He is on record as being the national main goal scorer for his 37 goals in 58 games.
However, Rashid Yekini, who had been divorced since 1994 lived a solitary life with a few tenants in his house in Ibadan, Oyo State where it is reported that he rarely received visitors.
Yekini was 49 years old. He is survived by two kids. He will be buried tomorrow according to Muslim rites in Irah, Kwara State.