Late former Super Eagles striker, Rashidi Yekini came alive in the annals of football last weekend, as global soccer governing body, FIFA marked the seventh year anniversary of the legend’s death with memories of his goal celebration at USA ’94 World Cup.
It was Nigeria’s first World Cup outing, after several gallant attempts at qualifying fell short at the last hurdle, and what a lofty sight Yekini cut in celebrating with aplomb the Super Eagles’ first ever goal of the global soccer showpiece, which FIFA used to eulogise the late star on Sunday.
‘Ye-King’ (23 October 1963 – 4 May 2012) scored 37 goals in 58 matches for the Eagles, and netted Nigeria’s first-ever goal in a World Cup during a 3–0 win against Bulgaria.
It was June 22, 1994 at Cotton Bowl, Dalls, with a crowd of 44,132 in the stands, as Daniel Amokachi slipped a pass through to Finidi George, who ran the lines before sliding the ball in for Yekini to knock home, after just 31 minutes, and his celebration that followed remains epochal.
While FIFA recalled how Yekini held the universe spell bound with his fingers piercing through Bulgaria’s net, as he went gaga with agitated glee, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also rolled out superlative words of celebrating the seventh year since the icon’s death.
The message from Nigeria’s soccer ruling body acknowledged that Ye-King is still the country’s leading scorer of all time, and eulogised that his legend will continue to live forever.
The NFF’s media unit stated: “The legend of Rashidi Yekini lives on. On this day in 2012, Nigeria’s all time top scorer passed on to glory. Keep resting in power, Goals-Father.”
FIFA added: “The first player to score a World Cup goal for the Super Eagles, his passionate celebration will always have its place in the history of the tournament.”