Former teammates of the late Yakubu Abubakari have paid tribute to a player who was “everything a manager would want” according to former South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena.
36-year-old Abubakari passed away on Tuesday after a short illness, and Mokoena, who played with him at Ajax, told KweséESPN what an exceptional player he was.
“We played at the youth level of Ajax and he broke through into the senior side before most of us,” Mokoena began. “He was a player who could carry the team.
“He could be hard when it was needed and he could play when it was needed. He was everything a manager would want in a midfielder.”
Anthony Obodai, a teammate of Abubakari at Ajax and international level said he was not just a brilliant player, but a greater character off the field too.
“As a person he was a very friendly guy, always cracking jokes and always happy,” the former Black Stars midfielder told KweséESPN. “He had no care in the world.
— John Heitinga (@Johnheitinga) November 1, 2017
“He was always in high spirits and everyone at Ajax loved him for that,” Obodai continued. “On the pitch he played with so much energy and passion and that motivated me a lot.
“He had a really good balance between being dead serious on the field and being the guy who made everyone laugh off it too.”
Abubakari made 89 appearances for Ajax after arriving at the club as a 17-year-old from Ghanaian side GHAPOHA FC.
He went on to win two Dutch league titles in 2002 and 2004 as well as the 2002 Dutch Cup with the Amsterdam giants, before going on to spend five years at Vitesse Arnhem.
Yakubu represented Ghana 16 times, and also featured for the national side at U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels.
Credit: Kwese ESPN