The sudden demise of former Nigeria international Rashidi Yekini shocked Cameroon like much of the continent, as a number of the Indomitable Lions former players keep paying homage to the 1993 African Footballer of the Year who died on Friday May 4 at the age of 48.
Bell Joseph Antoine, who was recently named African Goalkeeper of the Century by IFFHS, said nobody could discuss African football without making references to Rashidi Yekini.
“It was with deep regret I heard the news. At age 48, Yekini was still too young to die,” Bell said. “He was one of the players who catapulted Nigeria’s football to a new level and the team was always counting on him for goals and victories. He remains a great player and a great personality to me and I’ll always bear him in my heart,” said the 57-year-old who was part of the Cameroon team that won the 1984 and 1988 Africa Cup of Nations.
Cameroon former top striker Francois Omam Biyik, 45, said it was a bad news for African football being that Yekini couldn’t pass his experience to younger generation before his death.
“The death of Yekini unfortunately reminds us one of the saddest moments in life,” Oman Biyik said. “He was a great striker and scorer. I wish he had lived longer to transfer his knowledge and experience of the sport to younger generations. I have a feeling for his family and Nigerian football fans. We are together in these difficult times.”
The 2000 African Footballer of the Year Patrick Mboma said he couldn’t stifle his emotions and was left weeping for long minutes after hearing the news of Yekini’s death.
“I broke down and cried after hearing the news of his (Yekini) death. It is so sad for us fellow footballers to see one of ours departing. I hereby send my condolences to his family and fans and I believe he will remain great on our hearts,” Mboma said.