Nigeria’s All-Time Top Football Scorer Rashidi Yekini Honored by Google Doodle
16:03 23.10.2023 (Updated: 18:23 23.10.2023)
© AFP 2023 VINCENT AMALVYNigerian Rashidi Yekini celebrating after scoring the first goal at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during their World Cup match against Bulgaria, 1994
© AFP 2023 VINCENT AMALVY
The footballer dubbed Nigeria's 'Goalsfather' remains by far the country's greatest and most prolific marksman. No one has come close to matching his impressive tally of 37 goals in just 58 appearances for Nigeria's national team.
On Monday, Nigeria's iconic football player and all-time leading scorer, Rashidi Yekini, would have celebrated his 60th birthday. In his honor, Google Doodle posted a picture of Yekini's celebration during the 1994 World Cup.
The doodle pays tribute to a significant moment from the 1994 World Cup. After scoring a remarkable goal against Bulgaria, he ecstatically sprinted into the net, resembling a ball being kicked.
This emotional celebration marked Nigeria's very first goal in a World Cup final, making it an unforgettable occasion. According to Google, this shot is widely regarded as "one of the most iconic goal celebrations in football."
At that stage, Nigeria beat Bulgaria 3-0, but were eliminated by Italy in the 16th round.
Born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, Yekini had a difficult journey from homelessness and poverty to football fame.
Driven by a passion for football, Yekini worked as a welder and mechanic before catching the eye of scouts. In 1981, he joined his first club, UNTL FC in Kaduna, before playing for Shooting Stars, where he scored 45 goals in 53 games.
In 1983, the striker's extraordinary goal-scoring prowess earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year. He was the first Nigerian player to win the award.
Beyond Nigeria, he has represented clubs in Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Tunisia, Switzerland and Greece.
Yekini was also a key figure on the Nigerian national team, which he represented for 14 years, including a World Cup appearance in 1998. The prolific striker also finished as the top scorer at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations as Nigeria won their second continental crown.
The "Goalsfather" died in 2012 at the age of 48, leaving behind three daughters in addition to his rich football legacy.