Popular search engine Google is celebrating legendary Nigerian footballer, Rashidi Yekini, on what would have been his 60th birthday this Monday, October 23, 2023.
Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, on this day – October 23, 1963 – the late Super Eagles striker’s life story was a testament to determination and talent that overcame adversity.
Rashidi Yekini faced significant challenges in his early life, including periods of homelessness and taking up jobs as a welder and mechanic to make ends meet. Despite these hardships, his unwavering passion for football was evident. In 1981, Yekini joined his first football club, UNTL FC, in Kaduna, marking the beginning of a remarkable career.
Yekini’s journey took him to the Shooting Stars in Ibadan, where he left an indelible mark by scoring an impressive 45 goals in just 53 games. His exceptional goal-scoring abilities earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1983, making him the first Nigerian player to achieve this honour. In the following year, he played a pivotal role in leading the Shooting Stars to the finals of the African Champions Cup.
Beyond Nigeria, Yekini showcased his talents on the international stage, playing for clubs in Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Tunisia, Switzerland, and Greece. During his time with the Portuguese team Vitória Setúbal, he received the prestigious Bola de Prata (Silver Ball) for being the top scorer in the 1993-94 season.
Yekini’s contributions extended to Nigeria’s national team, the Super Eagles, as he played a crucial role in their qualification for Nigeria’s first World Cup in 1994.
On June 21 at the mundial, in a historic match against Bulgaria, Yekini scored Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup goal. His iconic celebration, clutching the net with tears of joy, remains a cherished moment in football history and served as the inspiration for today’s Google Doodle, which is being used to celebrate the popular footballer.