Ex-Nigeria star Rashid Yekini is dead
5/5/2012 3:30:42 PM -
Former African Footballer of the Year Rashidi Yekini died Friday in Iraa, officials and family members announced.
Kwara State sports commissioner Anthony Kayode Towoju confirmed the passing away Friday evening of one of Africa's most lethal strikers.
Family members said he died of a strange ailment and he is to be buried Saturday in his hometown of Offa according to Muslim rites.
Yekini's goals helped Nigeria to qualify for their first-ever World Cup in 1994 and he was rewarded with the prestigious African Footballer of the Year award in 1993.
He featured for Portuguese club Vitoria Setubal and also had a brief stint at Sporting Gijon in Spain and Greek side Olympiacos.
The 48-year-old Yekini has lived a reclusive life since he quit football around 2005, when he returned to star in the Nigerian league.
He has aggressively shunned the media limelight and has severally turned down offers to be part of the country's football in some other capacities.
He rejected a chance to act as a Nigerian football ambassador to the 2010 World Cup and eventually his place was taken up by ex-international goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu.
Last month, former international skipper Segun odegbemi, who played alongside Yekini at the famous Shooting Stars of Ibadan, dismissed concerns over the player's well being.
Odegbami even promised in his weekly syndicated newspaper column that the striker will soon return to football to promote youth football after a lengthy private chat with him.
MTNFootball.com has specially gathered that his aged mother and second wife came to Ibadan two weeks ago to take Nigeria's most prolific international striker to Offa after neighbours noticed he was 'behaving funny'.
A visit to his house in Oni and Son, around Ring Road, Ibadan, showed that there is no one living there as the gate is firmly locked while the premises housing the four white flats is unkempt with overgrown grasses.
There were no cars in the compound and the tenants who lived in the other flats have since been evicted by their famous landlord.
A member of the church near the property said they last saw Yekini about a month ago.