Google Doodle pays tribute to iconic Nigerian footballer Rashidi Yekini
Google Doodle, on Monday, honours the 60th birthday of Rashidi Yekini, the legendary Nigerian footballer renowned for his goal-scoring prowess and nicknamed the Goalsfather. Born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, Nigeria, Yekini’s journey from a challenging early life marked by homelessness and poverty to football stardom is celebrated.
Yekini, driven by his passion for football, worked as a welder and mechanic before catching the eye of scouts. Joining his first football club, ‘UNTL FC’ in Kaduna, in 1981, he later played for the Shooting Stars, amassing an impressive record of 45 goals in 53 games. In 1983, Yekini’s exceptional goal-scoring abilities earned him the title of ‘African Footballer of the Year,’ making him the first Nigerian player to achieve this honour. The following year, he played a pivotal role in leading the Shooting Stars to the finals of the African Champions Cup.
Beyond Nigeria, Yekini played for various football clubs in Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland. Notably, he secured the Bola de Prata (Silver Ball) in the 1993-94 season as the league’s top-scoring player while with the Portuguese team Vitória Setúbal.
A key figure for Nigeria’s national team, the ‘Super Eagles,’ Yekini played a crucial role in their qualification for the 1994 World Cup. His iconic celebration, clutching the net with both arms and shedding tears of joy after scoring Nigeria’s first goal, remains etched in football history. Continuing his football career for over 14 years with the Super Eagles, Yekini participated in the 1998 World Cup, scoring a total of 37 goals in 58 games for Nigeria—a record for the most goals scored for the country.
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