The Nigerian President described the footballer’s death as untimely and unfortunate

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Saturday, expressed sadness at news of the death of Nigeria’s ace football striker, Rashidi Yekini.

In a statement released by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Jonathan described Yekini’s death as untimely and unfortunate.

The President also said that Nigeria would forever remember his performances, especially at the African Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 1994 and the World Cup in the United States in 1994.

“It was a delight watching his fast-paced, goal-bound moves at international football competitions as he was feared by goal-keepers and defenders alike,” Jonathan said, adding that Yekini “epitomised patriotism, discipline, hard work, commitment and humility.”

He expressed regret that illness might have held Yekini down from imparting his football expertise and skills to the younger generation of footballers after his retirement from active play, and enjoined his family, fans and Nigerians to continue to cherish the memories of the high points of Yekini’s career.

Jonathan also commiserated with the Yekini family, the government and people of Kwara State and all football enthusiasts.

He asked God to grant them the fortitude to bear the painful loss and give peace to the deceased’s soul.The Confederation of African Football (CAF) also joined millions of football-loving Nigerians to mourn Yekini’s departure.

In a condolence message sent to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), CAF President, Issa Hayatou said, “It is with great sadness and sorrow that we learned about the passing away of Mr. Rashidi Yekini.

“On behalf of the CAF Executive Committee, the Confederation of African Football, the entire African football family and in my personal name, I hereby present to you, the Nigerian football family and to Mr. Yekini’s family, our most sincere condolences.”

Yekini represented the country in five consecutive African Cup of Nation tournaments (1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994), winning the Africa player of the year award in 1993 and helping the nation to her first Nation’s Cup in 1994.

Yekini holds the national goal-scoring record of 37 goals in 58 matches for the Super Eagles, one of which was Nigeria’s first goal in the World Cup, in a match against Bulgaria during the 1994 finals in USA. He also represented Nigeria at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

President Hayatou concluded by saying, “Rashidi Yekini’s fantastic display of skills and talent were evident to the World during Nigeria’s campaigns at the USA’94 and France ’98 World Cups finals. We will deeply miss him.”

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