Undoubtedly Nigeria’s greatest striker of all time, Rashidi Yekini’s name will forever remain in the history books and in the hearts of Nigerians.
Yekini was pure genius, a mastermind on the ball, an unstoppable force in the Super Eagles’ attack. He scored 37 goals in 58 appearances for Nigeria and led Nigeria to victory at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations. Yekini will most likely be remembered for scoring the Super Eagles’ first ever FIFA World Cup goal at the 1994 finals in the USA in the 3-0 group stage win over Bulgaria. What was extra special about the goal was Rashidi’s celebration, simply iconic! Maybe in disbelief that he had scored Nigeria’s first World Cup goal, spontaneously grabbed the net, shaking it in wild celebration.
Rashidi Yekini passed away on Friday 4 May 2012, at the age of 48, after a brief but serious illness, but his legacy lives on. No Nigerian striker has been able to match the level of class Yekini exhibited on the pitch. He played for several clubs in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Switzerland and was the first Nigerian to be named African Footballer of the Year in 1993. What a legend!
“Rasheed Yekini was one of the best players at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA,” said former FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter when he learned of Yekini’s death. “Against Bulgaria he scored Nigeria’s first ever FIFA World Cup goal, a strike that will earn him a place in the annals of Nigerian football. He will be sorely missed.”
Rashidi Yekini, definitely a name we must never forget!