By Amaka Akachukwu
One cannot talk about the Nigerian football without mentioning the name Rasheed Yekini. He was the first man to ever score a goal for Nigeria in the World Cup tournament.
A skilful player, Yekini led the attack line of the Super Eagles for many years, for about 14 years. He played 60 international games for the super eagles and scored whopping 37 goals. A record which remains to be broken by any Nigerian player.
After agonizing years in his own world, only in death would the former striker, who served Nigeria vital football wins, evoke such tales that offer a glimpse into a personal struggle with insecurities and despair.
His fade from our national lives is narrated from different angles and his ‘mysterious death’ exacerbated the stories. Some version of the stories said he was mentally unstable, some said he died out of depression due to financial losses. Whether Yekini actually suffered mental problems, or he was depressed, there was a lot about his death that didn’t look right.
Nigeria betrayed him; here is a country where we sing all the time that the labor of our heroes should not be in vain. Yet they are actively buried while alive. The Nigerian factor has swallowed up everything in place of true immortalization. If we look back at how we have managed our past national heroes, then it’s nothing to write home about.
Yekini felt betrayed and this haunted him till his death. ‘How could one give so much and receive so little in return from your own kind?’ his former team mate player Sunday Olisa said. Rasheed Yekini was would have been 50 on 23rd October, yet nobody remembered him in his own beloved country. FIFA head Sepp Blatter took to twitter and wrote “Rasheed Yekini would have been 50 today. His name as a scorer of Nigeria’s 1st World Cup final goal, lives on” Yes indeed, Rasheed Yekini does live on.