Sad tales of former Eagles star Rashidi Yekini

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Rashidi Yekini tales didn’t end well but his legacy will continue to live on.

Rashidi Yekini was a Nigerian professional footballer who played as a forward. He is all-time top goalscorer for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

His professional career,  was mainly associated with Portuguese team Vitória de Setúbal , but he also played in six other countries besides Nigeria

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 Ivory Coast 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.

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.

In the summer of 1994, Yekini signed for Greek club Olympiacos, 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.

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

After retiring in 2005, Yekini lived a quiet and simple life alone in Ibadan and away from his family. He liked to stay away from the public eye and didn’t socialise a great deal. There have been suggestions that he suffered from depression brought about by a number of factors. This includes him losing his life savings in a failed investment – apparently he’d given his money in cash to a confidant who was then killed by armed robbers who made away with the money.

He died of depression.After, he left football, he could not find his feet, he lived a solitary life and was mostly unhappy. He wasn’t given a befitting burial as he died a poor man.


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