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Former Nigerian Premier League Club Coach Is Now A Popular Nasi Lemak Vendor At UM

Yaya said that he loves seeing how food can unite people of different races and religions in Malaysia.

Cover image via Latimin Keman/CCO via Persatuan Kucing Merah Malaysia (Facebook)

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Editor's note: The story has been updated with Yaya's actual age.

Oluwashola Yaya Olukosi, a Nigerian national, has come to be adored by students and staff at Universiti Malaya (UM) for his delectable nasi lemak, friendly personality, and linguistic ability.

He is more fondly known as Yaya.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, 38-year-old Yaya migrated to Malaysia in 2010 and has worked with Nasi Lemak Tanglin for over eight years. Yaya is constantly praised for his fluency in speaking Malay.

“I would wake up as early as 4am to take nasi lemak and side dishes from the main Tanglin Nasi Lemak branch at Tanglin Food Complex in Jalan Cenderasari. Business starts at UM at 7am,” he told Persatuan Kucing Merah Malaysia.

Yaya used to coach Wolverhampton Wanderers' youth team in the Premier League when he lived in the UK

He previously studied at Salford City College, Manchester, where he majored in football coaching.

He now has a number of certificates, including a UEFA B Licence that lets him coach football to children under 16.

After he graduated, he moved back to his homeland but found it hard to earn a living there due to limited job opportunities.

Yaya remembered his tutor's advice that he might find better job opportunities in Southeast Asia, so he did some online research and fell in love with Malaysia

"While researching Malaysia, I fell in love with photographs of the Batu Caves Temple and the Petronas Twin Towers. Without wasting time, I was convinced that I had to migrate here," said Yaya, who is currently living in Batu Caves.

He added that, as a Muslim, he appreciates the variety of food that Malaysia has to offer.

"Besides Malay food, I can also enjoy a variety of other options like Chinese food, Indian food, and food from all over the world because there are always halal versions available," said Yaya.

Yaya appreciates the harmony that he sees in Malaysia, where people of different races and religions can live together and unite through food.

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