Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has paid tribute to two African football legends, Rashidi Yekini of Nigeria and Jules Bocande of Senegal, who recently passed away within the space of a few days.
FIFA said both Yekini and Bocande both played their part in golden eras for their respective national teams, leaving their mark on the clubs they represented through a combination of pure talent and personality.
"Rasheed Yekini was one of the great figures at the FIFA World Cup 1994 in the United States," a FIFA statement quoted Blatter as saying in a letter of condolence to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on the demise of the footballer at the age of 49.
"He scored his first ever (World Cup) goal for his country against Bulgaria. This goal secures his place as a legend in the annals of Nigerian football history. He will be sorely missed," he said.
Yekini made history by becoming the first-ever Nigerian to be named African Footballer of the Year in 1993, and also for scoring Nigeria's first-ever goal at the four-yearly FIFA World Cup.
On Bocande, who passed away three days after Yekini's death last week, Blatter said he gave everything to Senegalese football through his talent and commitment.
He also described the late Senegalese footballer as likeable and approachable''.
Bocande passed away following surgery for a heart complaint. A striker in his playing days, he won 73 caps for Senegal and found the net 20 times between 1979 and 1993, before later coaching the side from 1994 to 1995 and leading them to the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.
According to the FIFA statement, Bocande and Yekini crossed paths on the pitch during the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations, meeting at the Stade de l’Amitie in Dakar on 12 January that year.
Bocande scored; Yekini finished on the winning side.
-0- PANA SEG 10May2012