By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Federal Government has disclosed that plans had been concluded to begin payment of monthly stipend to the aged mother of late Super Eagles goal poacher, Rashidi Yekini, Alhaja Sikiratu Yekini, in recognition of the striker’s contribution to the national team.
It explained that the gesture through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development was to also cushion the hardship occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus in the country on the aged mother of the late striker.
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said reviewing the contribution of the late Nigerian international, the government through the ministry decided to recognize his contribution through a monthly stipend that would be paid directly to Sikiratu.
He also disclosed that the gesture will be extended to the family of Samuel Okwaraji, another compatriot who slumped on the pitch during a world cup qualifier in Lagos and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital thirty years ago.
According to him, as soon as the ministry worked out the modalities of the remuneration, both families will be contacted and they will start receiving the stipends and other benefits.
The Minister who was represented by Olaitan Shittu, during the visit to Yekini’s mother in Ijagbo, near Offa in Kwara State on Wednesday, also donated Ramadan gifts which include 50kg bags of rice, 10kg bag of wheat, six tins of Milo as well as the sum of N50,000.
Shittu explained that it was not the first time the Minister was reaching out to Alhaja Sikiratu Yekini as he was also at Mama Yekini’s residence in September 2019.
While appreciating the gesture, Sikiratu, revealed that stipend would help in great measures as it had been tough living without help from any quarters, adding that the death of the former African football player of the year left a void in her life.
“I have been abandoned for a long time and have not seen any help from anyone. I need help from Nigerians, but this Minister has done very well, especially remembering me in this holy month of Ramadan.
“Since my son died, it has been very tough for me because I do not have any help from people. Rashidi’s siblings are not doing well too, so, I was left to struggle for life every day,” Sikiratu said.
The Mothers of Rashidi Yekini and Sam Okwaraji will enjoy more benefits and renumeration as soon as the Ministry works out other details. The final details will be privately communicated. What government has done is to reach out and recognize the labors of these soccer heroes…
— Sunday Dare (@SundayDareSD) May 7, 2020
Late Rashidi Yekini who died eight years ago in Ibadan after retiring from football, had his professional career spanning more than two decades and was mainly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, but he also played in six other countries besides Nigeria.
Yekini scored 37 goals as a Nigerian international from 58 games and represented the nation in five major tournaments, including two World Cups where he scored the country’s first-ever goal in the competition against Bulgaria in the USA 94 World Cup.
He was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 1993.