Where Are You, Rashidi?

Where Are You, Rashidi?

Roll call (Westerhoff‘s voice):

Rufai!                                    Here sir!

Keshi!                                   Here sir!

Siasia!                                   Here sir!

Adepoju!                             Here sir!

Emenalo!                             Here sir 

Yekini!                                  (Silence)

General Yekini!                   (Silence)


General Rashidi Yekini,

Born 23rd October, 1963, in Kaduna,

A dedicated soldier of the federation

Tested and found worthy in several encounters

The best sharpshooter ever of the Army

37 skulls from 58 missions!


Conqueror of Tunisia and America

The first to make the nation’s first kill

In any World War of legs

Our first to be crowned the African king

First leader of sharp shooter’s list

In any White man’s land

Who came home and register our name

On world register of nations of leg soldiering


Rashidi! Rashidi! Where are you?


From Ira, south of Niger

You surmounted all obstacles

Rose from unknown to the most known

Your name we chanted to elicit greatness

In your superb skill

We all took delight

Just your name on the Squad list

And our opponents got in disarray

While we celebrated in advance

Victory that was sure in coming.


Rashidi! Rashidi! Where are you?


Where are you, now?

Our dear King,

The pitch was your kingdom

Therein you ruled and dispensed justice

To those who dared question our quality.

Doubt never crossed our mind

Whenever you are called upon

Your duty, you executed with precision

That is yet unequalled


Rashidi! Rashidi! Where are you?


For you, we redesigned our school uniform and best shirts

Our nick name was a derivation of your own name

Running around the street

We fought for the right to be The Nine

Your legend we learnt by heart

Of how from pumping tyres you turned

An expert in super pumping heart

And of how you chanted invocation in America

After making that famous kill.


Rashidi! Rashidi! Where are you?


Will you answer me, Omo Alhaja?

You who took your soldiering trade,

Before and after unceremoniously and wickedly

Betrayed by your own comrades and army,

To all over the world

From Setubal to Piraeus

Zurich to Riyadh

And back home you came to us

In Berger, Mobi and Gateway

You still dazzled with your talent

Even after your prime.


Rashidi! Rashidi! Where are you?


Where did we get it wrong?

Where did you get it wrong?

And what did we give you in return

For all you gave us?

Will we ever know the answer?

Or has it all ended on that fateful Friday

Fourth of May, 2012?


Rashidi! Rashidi! I know where you are

It is the place where they place patriots.

                                                                                                                                            5 May 20012 at 15:00

Originally composed in Yoruba and translated into English (with some modifications) by the poet.


You may skip this…


POET’S NOTE: When I was growing up, there were only two players in Nigeria- Peter Rufai and Rashidi Yekini. Rufai was a kickass goal keeper, Yekini was an out of this world goal scorer. Little suprise that since their retirement, no other player playing their wing has been able to win the heart of football loving Nigerians the way the duo did. We had this appellation for Rufai- f’ata ro’fo (uses pepper to prepare Efo/vegetable soup). We thought he used to figuratively feed strikers ‘Efo’ while he pick up their ball. For Yekini, to us, anybody who was a shooter or good striker was simply trying to become our own Yekini. ‘O gba soti bi Rasidi Yekini’ (he  shot the ball like RY ) ‘Emi Rashidi Yekini, mo ni n o go mo go’ (I RY, I promised to score and I scored) etc were popular sayings on the pitch. RY was as big as our present day Messi and Ronaldo. People who couldn’t afford the NFA shirt had their school uniforms ‘customised’ with RY name mostly on the back. That was until Okocha and Kanu.

Growing up in the 90s in Nigeria, football was almost the only positive thing in the country. It was our comic relief. (One thing the military couldn’t take, although Sani Abacha almost took it away in 1996 when he stupidly banned the team from South Africa ’96). Our teams in fact were very successful and provided that much needed relief.. Rashidi Yekini was a big part of that team and he made us proud. He was also a big part of my childhood and for that I am grateful. Good night, the great one. Rest in peace.

39 thoughts on “Where Are You, Rashidi?” by layrite (@layrite)

  1. You should see his burial, disgraceful.
    For a man like that to be buried like that…
    Why would anyone want to be patriotic?

  2. Kaycee… It was really Pathetic.

  3. It is the way of this country @kaycee. We do not celebrate patriots. I ll hesistate in future to accuse anyone of unpatriotic act.

  4. Beautiful tribute….am pretty sure that if the dead still live after, that Rashidi would be proud of one naijastorian…Well done layrite..$ß

  5. @Bubbllinna. I really hope they do live on. Thank you very much for your sweet word.

  6. I really enjoyed this, there were some minor errors, and some sentences that could have been constructed better…

    But Nice one Layrite.

    1. Thank you @teewah. Will work on it. The writing, translation and posting took few hours. Add to that is my lack of experience in translation. So, maybe editing suffered a bit. But I hope the positive sides compensated for the errors. I will also appreciate some specific pointers.

  7. Rashidi Yekini was my childhood football hero. He was such a sure striker I modelled my playing style after him. He wasn’t a bundle of skills nor colourful in the way of strikers of now; he was simply a goalscorer. The only thing he had was an eye for goal and a brutish fight for the ball. He didn’t bother about scoring pretty goals, he bothered only about putting the ball behind the net. I dont remember him losing a penalty kick while being the true Super Eagles’ penalty taker. I still remember his goal against Gabon at Tunisia ’94: a brilliant through pass from Oliseh, a delightful chip over the onrushing keeper from the gangling one perfectly finished with a simple nodding into the back of the net. His goal celebrations -jumping and punching the air- remains etched in my memory.

    As a young boy, Yekini represented happiness to me for he would always score. As a teenager, I tried scoring like him(and I did score a few). Yekini is a legend, a very humble one. When in 2004/5, his good friend, Segun Odegbami signed him for Gateway FC of Abeokuta at the age of 42, the whole Abeokuta turned up for his debut at the MKO Abiola Stadium. Only the annoyingly inept Eagles commanded a crowd that much. It was such a worthy honour to a man whose scoring record hasn’t been equalled on the national scene. Forget Martins, Aghahowa, Agali, Yakubu even Kanu; Yekini is the Eagles’ greatest striker ever.

    I love Rashidi Yekini, how wont I? Even May Ellen Ezekiel, RMD’s late presenter wife, once drooled over the gangling one that she asked him to give him a peck during a live interview after the ’94 Nations Cup!

    I weep for Rashidi. He deserved more. For those governors to now raise N3.5m at his death for the schooling of his children is sad. Where were they when he lived a reclusive life in Ibadan? May God help Nigeria. He who thinks he’s patriotic enough to wanna die for this sham we call Nigeria must be seriously examined. Cos dying for this country is akin to a man committing suicide over a prostitute’s love. Is a prostitute capable of love? Is Nigeria worth it?

    God bless you @layrite, I couldnt have written a better tribute to the one man who made us happy in those days happiness was like diamond. And for this that you have written, @layrite, accept 500 points from me. I have never done that before, but you touched a chord in me. Thank you.

    RIP Rashidi Yekini, the one and only goals-king.

    1. *speechless*
      Thank you is all I can say. Thank you!

      1. Ok. Found my voice and my sense! I really appreciate your comment and that 500points. They mean a lot. Your contribution concerning Yeking is also interesting. It is unfortunate that everyone is now finding his/her senses now that the guy is gone.

        @banky, thanks.

        1. @layrite, you did earn those points man, consider it a ‘payment’ for a brilliant tribute and a job well done.
          Yekini was an hermit, yet, he was an hero. He lived a reclusive life, yet, he gave his all for the Super Eagles. He was unschooled, yet, very cultured. I never saw him get yellow-carded sef, yet he was a feared striker. Have you read tributes coming from Mboma, Antoine Bell and co from Cameroun? (http://www.goal.com/en-ng/news/4065/africa/2012/05/07/3087444/cameroons-football-stars-pay-homage-to-rashidi-yekini) Its a testament to the brilliance of Yeking.
          I’m so sad he died and was buried so unceremoniously. He deserved more. He honestly did.

          1. Thanks for that link. It nearly brought tears to my eyes.

  8. @Layrite, very touching piece straight from the heart. Painful more is the fact that our leaders dwell in post-humors balderdash. Your piece hit the nail where it really matters. Well done

    1. Thank you @leekwid. ‘Post humors balderdash’ is the only thing we are good at in this country.

      I am happy you like this.


    1. True. True. and True!

      Nice to see you here, @mikeeffa.

  10. To have written this in great Yoruba language and
    translated, is in the universal spirit of football. Yet,
    you raised the hairs of my mind in awe as I read;
    I saw it all through. I redesigned my shirts and shots
    as an artist and I saw you Rashidi tearing those nets
    with hungry fingers. We even tore the invisible nets
    across the bamboo bars in wanting your spirit.

    Farewell, great soldier.
    In our anthem, we recall thou art a hero past.

    Na mma onye nke m.

    1. Yes. Football is universal. Even if you don’t understand the language of the commentary you will get the gist.
      Indeed, I did tear those imaginary nets (although I was not so good as a striker).
      God bless him,
      Him ,who was a source
      of so much joy and fun.

      Thank you, @ostar. Your comment means a lot.

  11. Rest in peace Yeking. Great piece @layrite. Thank you for doing this…

  12. @lancaster. Thank you for reading it. Really appreciate that.

  13. I remember staying up late to watch Yekini charge into the net…what a sight! Thanks for writing this tribute.

    1. We all did, @jonnysnow. It was always a nice spectacle seeing Yekini score.

  14. Nice one. Many gone hereos, mehn… No b small tin.

    1. Too many gone heroes. We should make new ones.
      @lactoo, thank you for coming.

  15. Obisike (@obiaguomba)

    A beautiful ode. Thank you, @layrite. Thank you. And thank you, for giving voice to our feelings about a veritable legend.

  16. Layrite! You sure laid it outright!

    This is a beautiful glowing tribute to someone our beloved nation should have celebrated, but alas, how can a stranger bury ones family?

    How can a thief look after ones property?

    Those in charge or in power are like and are strangers and thieves!

    How can they truly celebrate the passion and accomplishment of one who is a patriot, while everything they stand for is unpatriotic?

    Well done. This is good.

  17. A thumb up from prolific poet @atumercy! Shukran!
    Concerning those poet and property, my people said they (thieves) are the best security.

  18. sambright (@sambrightomo)

    Before going to Tunisia 94′ he begged Nigerians to spell his name well-RASHEED…@layrite u sabi dis ting well,well..I know where he is—WHERE LIFE’S BEST RESIDES…

    1. Thank you, sir. He never got the chance to properly change the name, I guess. It is what he was known as. The correct spelling will be Abdul Rasheed Halamal-Yeqin. How about that, @sambright?

      Thank you, again!

      1. @sambrightomo.Thank you, sir. He never got the chance to properly change the name, I guess. It is what he was known as. The correct spelling will be Abdul Rasheed Halamal-Yeqin. How about that,

        Thank you, again!

  19. @layrite, this was and is really touching. Great work. RIP Rashidi Yekini. I’ve never been a football person but even me, I was pained by his death at just 49. And in such shady circumstances. God have mercy on us in this country. Fellow NS members, we need to show them. We need to show the older generation of Nigerians how poorly they have fared, how they have allowed our country to rot…. if our generation does not get it right, there will be no future for us as a country. Even now, we are on the brink….

    We, the twenty, thirty, forty-year olds, we need to be different. We should all personally shun corruption, and embrace kindness, selflessness. And condemn what is condemnable. And ostracize people who want to ruin this country. Shame them. Otherwise, it’ll all be just talk and this country will be doomed.

    1. True talk! @guywriterer. I hope we are listening to you.

      Thank you!

  20. I saw in the dailies where the late football maestro was being laid to rest. well he has achieved his bit for Nigerian football and Nigerians will never forget him like that -government should immortalize Rashidi Yekini, he achieved in ninety minutes what no Nigerian leader has been able to achieve even in eight yrs of looting.

    1. He did give us happiness the looters never learn how to freely give, @mikeefa.

  21. Great poem about a great man that served a great nation. Well done!

  22. @igweaj. Nice seeing you here. Thank you for reading and for your comment.

  23. Yes, we remember
    Good one

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