Rashidi Yekini

Rashidi Yekini
Rashidi Yekini.jpg
Yekini in 1998
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 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Position(s) 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 114 (91)
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)
Total 253 (164)
National team
1984–1998 Nigeria 62 (37)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Rashidi Yekini (23 October 1963 – 4 May 2012) was a Nigerian professional footballer who played as a striker. He is all time top goalscorer for his nation.

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 besides his own.[1]

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.[2][3]

Club career

Yekini was born in Kaduna, of Yoruba origin.[4] 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;[5] 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.[6]

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;[7] 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.[8]

In April 2005, 41-year-old Yekini made a short comeback, moving alongside former national teammate Mobi Oparaku to Gateway United FC.[8]

International career

Scoring 37 goals for Nigeria in 62 appearances,[9] 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[10]) 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.[11] He also participated at Olympic level in Seoul 1988.

International goals

Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first.[9]

Personal life

Yekini married three wives. He had three daughters, named Yemisi, Omoyemi and Damilola.[12][13]


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,[2] the news being confirmed by former national teammates Mutiu Adepoju and Ike Shorunmu;[14] he was buried at his residence in Ira, Kwara State.[15] He was survived by his aged mother, brother, wives and children, among others.[12][13]


  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. ^ "Odegbami: Remembering Gangling Rashidi Yekini". Complete Sports. Retrieved 13 December 2019.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Portugal – List of Topscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  6. ^ "African Player of the Year 1993". RSSSF. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  7. ^ "El Sporting remonta dos veces" [Sporting comes back from behind twice] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 30 October 2005. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Yekini set for another return". BBC Sport. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Rashidi Yekini – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Nigeria's first-ever World Cup goal & Rashidi Yekini's five most memorable moments". Goal. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Rashidi Yekini: 'One of the best African players ever to walk this earth'". The Guardian. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  12. ^ a b "The agony of Rashidi Yekini's three-year old daughter". Premium Times. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b "I want my father's death investigated — Yemisi Yekini". The Punch. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Rashidi Yekini dead: Ex-players react". Tribune. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ "An era ends: Rashidi Yekini buried in Kwara as hundreds weep". Premium Times. May 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015.

External links