Google Doodle Celebrates Iconic Nigerian Footballer At 60

Israel Adeleke

On Monday, Google Doodle honored the 60th birthday of Rashidi Yekini, the legendary Nigerian footballer known for his goal-scoring prowess and nicknamed the Goalsfather.

A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements, and notable historical figures.

Yekini, who was born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, Nigeria, overcame a challenging early life marked by homelessness and poverty to become a football star.

Yekini, who had a passion for football, worked as a welder and mechanic before catching the eye of scouts.

He joined his first football club, ‘UNTL FC,’ in Kaduna, in 1981, and later played for the Shooting Stars, scoring 45 goals in 53 games.

He became the first Nigerian player to win the title of ‘African Footballer of the Year’ in 1983, thanks to his exceptional goal-scoring abilities.

He also helped the Shooting Stars reach the finals of the African Champions Cup in 1984.

He played for various football clubs in Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland.

He won 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.

He was a key figure for Nigeria’s national team, the ‘Super Eagles,’ and 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.

Yekini continued his football career for over 14 years with the Super Eagles, participating in the 1998 World Cup. He scored a total of 37 goals in 58 games for Nigeria—a record for the most goals scored for the country.

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