Monday, 7 May 2012
Rashidi Yekini; A peek Into His Latter Days
Rashidi Yekini is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers to ever don the green-white-green jersey of the Super Eagles, hence when news of his death went viral late last week, a lot of questions were raised as to the circumstances that lead to the sudden demise of the ‘Goal King’.
The 49 year old soccer veteran died on Friday, May 4th, 2012 in his hometown Ira, Oyun local government in Kwara state after years of illness.
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He was laid to rest according to Islamic rites on Saturday May 5th, 2012 and erstwhile wife of the footballer, Adeola, while speaking at the burial hinted that Yekini’s health got worse because friends and close associates kept mum.
She also fingered the media, stating that members of the Nigerian press invaded Yekini’s privacy.
“We were married with a daughter but we stayed away from each other after the divorce. Despite the separation, I visited him regularly each time I came to Ibadan before his death. We had arguments but it was because of the way he was living.”
“I disapproved his decision to live alone in such a big house although I was not trying to come back. He was such a gentle man but people who surrounded him were his enemies. They must have noticed changes in his life but they kept quiet. He was so generous and kind but they paid him back in a poor way.”
“I was not living with him so I cannot speak about his final days. Perhaps he would have lived longer if the media had left him in peace. Your people poked into his personal life all the time and abused his modesty. Since his death, I have had so many calls but what do they expect me to say about a dead former husband. I played my part in his rehabilitation but I was practically alone in the fight. Each time I read something negative about him, I would rush to Ibadan but I was meeting a brick wall and it was disappointing and painful.” Adeola bemoaned.
The late footballer’s mother, Alhaja Sikiratu also stated that Yekini, who gave Nigeria its first World Cup goal in USA 1994 had prior his death, been struggling with mental illness.
“We have been on the problem since 2010 and we tried our best but my son refused to be taken care of. When he came back, we asked him why he has done what he did but he replied by burning all his belongings. I lost my husband in 1978 and Rashidi has been with me since then,” She said.
Until his death, Yekini stayed alone in a four bedroom apartment on Ring road, away from his family who resided in Kwara state.
According to neigbours and associates, Yekini refused to socialize after retiring from active football, which in turn had devastating effects on him. A neighbor who pleaded anonymity disclosed that that Yekini’s problems emanated from a botched deal with a confidant called Ibraheem.
‘Yekini started losing his mind and began behaving erratically due to his loss of huge sum of money to the death of his only confidant and business partner, Ibraheem, who ran a bureau de change in Sabo Area of Ibadan.” He explained.
There were also claims from other neighbors that Rashidi Yekini was spotted on many occasions in shorts along Onireke road, soliloquizing.
Former team mate, Sunday Oliseh, however declared that things went on a downward spiral for Yekini after he was booed by fans during a world cup match, shortly before his retirement.
“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?” Oliseh wrote on his website.