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Rest in Peace: Rashidi Yekini

RashidiYekini (Getty)

Whenever a member of the world soccer community passes away it is a sad day, but the passing of former Nigerian World Cup striker Rashidi Yekini at the age of 48 last Friday brought an extra tinge of sadness for a generation of American soccer fans.

Yekini's unforgettable goal celebration during Nigeria's 3-0 win vs. Bulgaria at the 1994 World Cup was one of the signature moments of a tournament that helped a generation of Americans become soccer fans. It was just one moment in a storied career for Yekini, who helped lead Nigeria to the 1994 African Cup of Nations title and remains Nigeria's all-time goal-scoring leader, but it is that signature moment at the World Cup lives long in the memories of so many.

For those who never saw Yekini's World Cup goal, or for those who did and would love to see it again. Here it is:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8v2j7CHZO0]

Comments

  1. If memory serves, this was Nigeria’s first World Cup goal ever.
    May help to explain the pure emotion post-goal.

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  2. If you’ve never heard of this man, you need some YouTube lessons. One of the top three African strikers of his generation along with Roger Milla and George Weah.
    You think Didier Drogba is terrifying to defenders, go ask those who played against Rashidi Yekini (and goal keepers who had to make attempts at his blistering shots).
    R.I.P Africa’s God father of goals in the 90s.

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  3. I was at this game and saw this goal in person. This game had a huge effect on me as I was 13 at the time and it was the first time I had ever seen a team full of Black players like myself.

    Yekini is now the 2nd or 3rd player from that team to pass away. Gone too soon. R.I.P. Yekini!

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  4. Totally remember that post goal reaction. Was one of the lasting memories of that World Cup. That and the fact that ’94 was the first time that ESPN broadcast games without commercial interruption.

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  5. I was at that game in Dallas, vs. Bulgaria.

    The irony is that butt-kicking was just the kick in the butt Bulgaria needed to get Hristo fired up and on their way to the semis.

    I still remember the Nigerian fans like a sea of green and white up by the press box chanting something like: SAY-OSAYO-OSAYO-OSAYASA

    Cotton Bowl hadn’t seen anything like that before!

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  6. EASY!!!!
    He was sick and died enroute to hospital from Lagos to London (from what I’m told by friends from Nigeria). The cause of his death hasn’t been released by his family. Hell, the news wasn’t reported in the west til a few days after he died.
    So cut this site some slack, they’ve relayed pretty much what everyone has reported. When more info is available we should all read or hear about it.

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  7. c’mon SBI…more info please…don’t lower yourself to yahoo sports standards. I would like to know how he died or if he suffered from some sort of medical conditions.

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  8. This is one of my oldest soccer memories. One must be too young to not realize how emotional Yekini was after that goal. It’s almost 20 years past, and I still remember that celebration vividly.

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  9. I have to confess… I assumed it was the OTHER notable nigeria goal celebration from 1994.

    More renal than emotional.

    Man that nigeria squad was fun to watch.

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  10. I just had a conversation with a friend of mine who’s Nigerian over the week-end about Yekini’s passing. Very sad and he’s arguably more popular than Kanu throughout Nigeria. He was definitely Nigeria’s best striker and damn could he play. He was also just a flat out good person and will be missed by alot of people. Glad I had the fortuine of seeing him play in that World Cup for Nigeria.

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  11. “unforgettable goal celebration” … what am i missing?

    (SBI-It was just the display of emotion he showed, and the visual of him being in the net. It was a lasting memory. Guess you had to see it live, or be able to appreciate human emotion.)

    Reply

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