Top 5 greatest quotes about Rashidi Yekini, Super Eagles’ Goalsfather

Super Eagles legend Rashidi Yekini | PulseSports

Top 5 greatest quotes about Rashidi Yekini, Super Eagles’ Goalsfather

Ayoola Kelechi 23:05 - 23.10.2023

"The greatest ever," "Just like Pele," "irreplaceable." Nigerian legend Rashidi Yekini is fondly remembered by his peers even in his death

Today, we celebrate what would have been the 60th birthday of Nigerian legend Rashidi Yekini, who remains the country’s highest goal scorer of all time, 25 years after his last match for the Super Eagles.

The Kano-born goal machine left a legacy as the best striker ever to don the green and white of the Nigerian national team, and holds the distinction of being the first player to score a goal for the Super Eagles at the FIFA World Cup.

Yekini’s iconic goal and celebration against Bulgaria in Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup match remain etched in the memory of fans of the national team and are one of many reasons why the aptly named Goalsfather remains a national legend.

Many things have been said about the former Vitoria Setubal and Shooting Stars of Ibadan icon, especially since his unfortunate passing in 2012, but we have compiled the top five most telling quotes about Yekini by those lucky enough to share the pitch with him.

‘Rashidi Yekini just like Pele’ — Segun Odegbami

Super Eagles legend Segun Odegbami was Yekini’s teammate at both club and country level and remains one of his biggest admirers.

Segun Odegbami is number 2 on the Top 10 Super Eagles all-time top scorers list

He said, “The story of Rashidi, like that of the legendary Pele, is of a man who became a phenomenal goal-scoring machine and one of his continent’s greatest all-time goal-scorers.

“What he lacked in dribbling skills and fine passes, he more than made up for with his power, pace, ability to run into open spaces, cannon shots, great heading skills, and an uncanny nose for being at the right place at the right time in opposing boxes and burying balls behind goalkeepers.”

‘Yekini was the King of goals’ — Kanu Nwankwo

Kanu’s stint as Yekini’s teammate was much shorter, as they only got to represent Nigeria at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Kanu Nwankwo inspired Nigeria to Olympic Gold in Atlanta '96

However, the former Arsenal and Ajax man still remembers Yekini fondly and penned this on Twitter on the anniversary of his passing.

“When a great man dies, for years the light he leaves behind him lies on the paths of men. Continue to Rest in Peace, our Legend Rashidi Yekini.”

‘Yekini was Mr Make it happen’ — Jay Jay Okocha

One of Nigeria’s greatest players ever, Jay Jay Okocha clearly enjoyed his time playing with Yekini and had this to say about him, “He knew his onions and was always on hand to inspire the teams with his goals.

“I remember on so many occasions when we needed a goal or two and Yekini most times makes sure it happens, defenders always had a hard time playing against him.”

‘Yekini was one of the best ever’ — Sunday Oliseh

Another of Yekini’s teammates in the triumphant Super Eagles team that won the 1994 AFCON and made history at the World Cup that same year, Sunday Oliseh, wrote in his blog about the legendary goalscorer, “Rashidi Yekini is definitely one of the best African players and legends to ever walk this earth.

Sunday Oliseh won the Olympic gold in 1996 with the Dream Team

“Rashidi was full of pace, had a superb shot, could jump very high, was calm in front of goal, and was a very loveable person once you got to know and understand him. We lost not only a brother, friend, human being, legend, and compatriot, but we also lost a great opportunity to find out his unique secret of how to score goals easily like he did, which only he knew how to.”

‘Yekini can never be replaced’ — Emmanuel Amuneke

Another star of the Super Eagles iconic squad of 1994, Emmanuel Amuneke was also full of praise for Yekiini, saying, “Rashidi Yekini can never be replaced in our hearts. Though he has passed on, he can never be replaced and that’s the reason you can see Nigerians still paying tributes to him.

He told PUNCH in an interview following Yekini’s death, “For me, it was a great privilege as a kid to have nursed the ambition of playing for Nigeria and even more privileged to have shared the dressing room with him and played together at the AFCON and World Cup.”

Yekini was an icon for the Super Eagles not only for his immense goalscoring abilities but also for his patriotism, and this famous quote by the legend himself sums up his love for the country.

Rashidi Yekini is Nigeria's all-time highest scorer with 37 goals. (Photo Credit: Imago)

“There was a time I learnt that my [club] coach was complaining in the press that I went too often to play for Nigeria and that it affected his plans. Do you know what I told him? I told him nobody, repeat nobody, can stop me from playing for my fatherland.

“This is where my people love me not only because I score goals, but because I am their son. Even if Nigeria has a fixture against ants and cockroaches and I am invited, I will go and play.” — Rashidi Yekini.

Yekini retired after winning the 1994 AFCON with the Super Eagles, as well as, being named the 1993 African Footballer of the Year in 1993, becoming the first Nigerian to claim the award in the process.

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