Home » Google Doodle Salutes Nigeria’s Top Scorer, Rashidi Yekini, on His 60th Birthday

Google Doodle Salutes Nigeria’s Top Scorer, Rashidi Yekini, on His 60th Birthday

The search engine giant celebrated the “Goalsfather” with a colourful doodle

by Motoni Olodun

Google has paid tribute to Rashidi Yekini, Nigeria’s legendary goalscorer, with a special doodle on what would have been his 60th birthday. Yekini, who died in 2012, is widely regarded as one of the best African strikers of all time and holds the record for the most goals scored for Nigeria.

Yekini was born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, Nigeria. He overcame poverty and hardship to pursue his passion for football. He started his professional career with UNTL FC in Kaduna 1981 and played for several clubs in Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Switzerland.

He was nicknamed the “Goalsfather” for his prolific scoring ability and iconic celebration after netting Nigeria’s first-ever goal at the 1994 World Cup in the USA. He ran into the net and hugged it with tears of joy, a moment that is etched in the memory of Nigerian football fans.

Yekini was also instrumental in Nigeria’s success at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). He won the tournament in 1994 and was the top scorer with five goals. He also finished as the top scorer in the 1992 edition with four goals. He represented Nigeria in six AFCON tournaments and two World Cups.

He was named the African Footballer of the Year in 1993, becoming the first Nigerian to win the award. He scored 37 goals in 58 appearances for Nigeria, a record that still stands today. He retired from international football in 2002.

Google said that its doodle was inspired by Yekini’s memorable goal celebration and aimed to honor his legacy and achievements. The doodle’s color resembles the Nigerian flag and shows a goalpost and Yekini in action.

Google often uses its doodle to celebrate notable personalities and events worldwide. Recently, it has featured Nigerian icons such as Stella Adadevoh, Flora Nwapa, Chinua Achebe, and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.

Yekini’s doodle has been well received by Nigerian football fans and former teammates, who have taken to social media to express their appreciation and admiration for him. They have described him as a legend, a hero, and an inspiration.

Former international teammates Sunday Oliseh and Victor Ikpeba have spoken about Yekini’s legacy. “What I find very sad is not just that there’s no closure about his passing, but that for all the man did for our country, he always deserves to be remembered,” Oliseh told BBC Sport Africa. Ikpeba also expressed his disappointment that there was no full investigation into Yekini’s death.

Yekini’s life and career have also been documented in books, films, and songs. His story of resilience, determination, and excellence continues to inspire generations of Nigerian footballers.

 Source: Business Day

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