Rashidi Yekini, who passed away, once struggled with homelessness and poverty; thus, his journey was not without its challenges. Often known as the Goalsfather, he is a beloved Nigerian football star, and today, Google Doodle is happy to celebrate his 60th birthday.
Yekini, a household name thanks to his amazing skill for sneaking shots past goalkeepers, was born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, Nigeria.
Rashidi Yekini, who passed away, once struggled with homelessness and poverty; thus, his journey was not without its challenges. To make ends meet, he struggled as a mechanic and welder, but football was his genuine love. His perseverance paid off when talent scouts noticed him.
The Goalsfather signed up for his first football team, “UNTL FC,” in Kaduna in 1981. After that, he transferred to the Shooting Stars, where he scored an outstanding 45 goals in 53 games, leaving a lasting impression.
Yekini was the first Nigerian player to win “African Footballer of the Year” in 1983, thanks to his extraordinary scoring abilities. He was crucial in helping the Shooting Stars go to the African Champions Cup finals the following year.
The travels of the late Yekini extended outside of Nigeria. He played for football teams in Switzerland, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Greece, and Portugal. He won the Bola de Prata (Silver Ball) for the league’s top goal scorer during the 1993–94 season while representing Portugal’s Vitória Setbal.
Additionally, he was essential to Nigeria’s national team, the “Super Eagles,” reaching the 1994 World Cup. He scored Nigeria’s first goal on this momentous occasion, creating an iconic scene as he joyfully embraced the goal with tears in his eyes.
The company said that the celebration is still remembered as one of the most famous goal celebrations in football history.
For more than 14 years, Yekini represented the Super Eagles, making another World Cup appearance in 1998. He established himself as Nigeria’s all-time leading goal scorer with an astounding 37 goals in 58 appearances.
A football legend passed away in May 2012.