Although he said details would be kept confidential, indications are that they will each receive 40,000 naira (R1,950) from both government and the Nigeria Football Federation for their upkeep.
The Nigerian government will reportedly give them 10,000 naira (R500) with the federation contributing a further. 30,000 naira (R1450).
Okwaraji passed on 31 years ago after collapsing on the pitch during a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Nigeria’s most prolific goal scorer, with 37 goals in 58 matches, Yekini died in 2012 after suffering from an illness.
“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 recognise the labours of these soccer heroes,” Dare said in a tweet.
A representative of the Minister Olaitan Shittu visited the mother of Yekini, Alhaja Sikiratu, in Ijagbo, in Western Nigeria, this week. She was presented with some food items and the sum of 50,000 naira (R2,400) for Ramadan. Her son, remembered for his iconic celebration after Nigeria’s first ever goal at the 1994 World Cup against Bulgaria, was known to be a hermit, training in the morning and going to the mosque in Ibadan, where he was based.
The federation also confirmed the development on its twitter account. “In furtherance to and in appreciation of, the recent pronouncement of the Honourable Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, to put the mothers of late ex-Internationals Sam Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini on a monthly stipend, the NFF has decided to support this noble initiative with a further monthly stipend of 30,000 naira (R1450) to each of the two matriarchs,” read the tweet.
The tweet also concluded by asserting that NFF will look into the welfare of surviving mothers of ex internationals who died while on national duty. “In addition, the NFF will henceforth review the situation of surviving mothers of our ex internationals that died in active service for the country and resolve what to do for them on a monthly basis.”
By Mthokozisi Dube