IBADAN - Nigeria's Muslim footballer Rashidi Yekini passed away quietly on Friday, May 4, at the age of 48 in a private hospital in Ibadan in the West Nigerian state of Oyo, leaving behind a legendary history in the African football.
It's so sad but the truth of the matter is that our dear Rashidi Yekini is dead, Ike Shorunmu, one-time national teammate of Yekini, told Nigerian Tribune on Saturday, May 5.
He died in a private hospital in Ibadan, he added.
Yekini's death was also announced by Kwara State's Commissioner for Information, Tunji Moronfoye, in the early hours of Friday.
He died today (Friday) in Ibadan, he was a close friend of mine, a relative of sort having the same root from Kwara State, Moronfoye said.
We are second cousins in fact. He died of depression. After he left football, he could not find his feet, he lived a solitary life and was mostly unhappy.
May Allah grant him rest, he prayed.
He will be buried today according to Muslim rituals in his hometown of Ira, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Yekini was Nigeria's national record goal scorer, netting 37 goals in 58 appearances.
He represented Nigeria at the 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994 Africa Nations Cup finals. He also represented Nigeria at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Yekini played for Nigeria at the USA'94 and France '98 World Cups finals.
In 1993, he was crowned African Footballer Of The Year; the first time a Nigerian would be so honored.
The 48-year-old Yekini has lived a reclusive life since he quit football around 2005,
In his final days, the devout Muslim player kept away from the spotlight.
Training in the morning, he used to attend the mosque in Ibadan regularly, where he was based.
The Nigerian Football Federation spokesman, Ademola Olajire expressed profound shock, stressing that it was the saddest football news of the year.
Yekini's name would forever be remembered in the history of African football for his great achievements.