Former Ajax star, Sunday Oliseh has made a startling revelation on how late Super Eagles striker, Rashidi Yekini had to appeal to his teammate for support prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States of America.
Yekini, who scored Nigeria’s first World Cup goal in the team’s 3-0 thrashing of Bulgaria in the opening fixture, later found it difficult to score goals in subsequent matches despite his prolific goal-scoring record.
Nigeria crashed out of the Mundial after losing 2-1 to Italy in the round of 16. However, Oliseh in his new autobiography, titled ‘Audacity to Refuse’, stated that he was shocked to Yekini begged and knelt down before some of the ‘big boys’ in the team in a bid to avert gang-up.
“The next day we had a meeting amongst ourselves called up by Captain Keshi and the senior players. Several issues were discussed and like always, the youngsters and minorities, of which I was a member, just looked on speechless and impotent at the charade.
“To my greatest surprise, Rasheed Yekini, who had been criticised, in my opinion unjustly for certain small issues, went on his knees in front of the whole group and pleaded for forgiveness from anyone in the group who might have held any grudges against him for whatever reasons. I was totally shocked.
“His reasoning, as I later gathered, was that he feared being ganged up against at the World Cup proper and deprived of service in matches. This action broke me down and till date has me puzzled. I felt revolted but impotent.
“In my opinion, he was the real and only superstar in the group, the most prolific in front of the goal, and by far the best striker the Super Eagles ever produced.
“Our entire attacking strength was built around him, and it was his goals that had qualified us for the 1994 World Cup.”
“He had almost single-handedly won us the 1994 African Nations Cup just weeks earlier, and without his potency, we did not stand a chance at the World Cup.”
“How could he beg for service when most of the goals he got at the AFCON he got from me and Finidi George, and we liked the guy, though he did not socialise enough with us to know it.”
By Augustine Akhilomen
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