When Rabiu Ali joined Kano Pillars in 2009, little did anybody know that he would go on to become, arguably, the greatest player to feature in the NPFL.
Rabiu Ali has remained a one-team player since 2009, living and bleeding Kano Pillars. In the ancient city of Kano, he is a legend.
At 43, he is still firing on, with little signs of slowing down.
The Kaduna-born midfielder has found a home in Kano, and while players he has more talent than have found their way out of the country in search of greener pastures, Rabiu Ali has refused to leave the NPFL.
Over the weekend, Rabiu Ali hit another milestone in the colours of Kano Pillars.
He cemented his legendary status with another goal that further enhances the argument that he is the greatest player to have played in the NPFL.
110 – Rabiu Ali with yet another record, his dying minute goal against Rivers United FC took his #NPFL goal tally to 110 NPFL goals scored.
— NPFL News 🇳🇬 (@NPFL_News) October 22, 2023
Rabiu Ali scores his 110th NPFL goal
When Rivers United strode into town for their tie against Kano Pillars, one could sense that something great was in the offing.
Rivers United are not strangers to Sai Masu Gida. Several encounters between the two sides showed that an intense affair was on the cards.
It didn't disappoint. The Sani Abacha Stadium was packed to the rafters like a seer had prophesied about a momentous occasion.
Rivers United thought they had weathered the storm and salvaged a point on the road, but cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Inside added time, Rabiu Ali strode forward and struck the killer blow to give Kano Pillars a 1-0 victory over the Port Harcourt-based side.
The goal that downed Rivers United happened to be the 110th goal for Rabiu Ali in the NPFL.
Even in a league hard-pressed for record-keeping, it will amount to a futile effort searching for a man who has done better than Rabiu Ali.
Give Rabiu Ali his flowers. He has played 14 years in the NPFL, amounting to about eight goals per season.
Kano pillars 1-0 Rivers United #NPFL24
— BROADCASTER FOR NPFL 🎙️⚽️🦍🇳🇬 (@NINO_Rollanoda1) October 22, 2023
Who is Rabiu Ali?
To play till 43 is a massive achievement. It shows that Rabiu Ali has been taking care of himself properly.
The Kano Pillars captain is married to a pretty wife – Maryam Baba Lawan. The couple got married in 2017 in a colourful ceremony.
A day after his wedding, Rabiu Ali received the award for VAT Wonder Goal following his splendid strike against Abubakar Bukola Saraki FC.
Rabiu Ali is a simple man who keeps his life private. He is fiercely loyal to his club.
He is on record to have praised his wife publicly and showed that he is a family man. He claimed that his wife was part of his life for a long time before they decided to take it to the next level.
In one of his statements, he said marriage is calming and good for a footballer.
Following the relegation of Kano Pillars to the NNL, Rabiu Ali received several offers from top clubs in the country but elected to remain with the club to help them back to the NPFL.
Rabiu Ali has spent 14 years with Kano Pillars. It is hard to point to a player who has bettered this record. However, the longevity of the midfielder has not translated to consistent trophies.
He has won his fair share of laurels for Kano Pillars and represented his country (Nigeria) in different capacities.
So, what titles has Rabiu Ali won?
He led Kano Pillars to league triumph three years in a row.
In the 2011/12 season, he won his first league title with Kano Pillars, beating Enugu Rangers by three points.
The following season, they repeated the act, with a point separating Sai Masu Gida and Enyimba.
Rabiu Ali won his third league title with Kano Pillars in 2014 after a straight battle with Enyimba and one point separating them.
Rabiu Ali has one FA Cup and runner-up title to his name. In 2018, he was a losing finalist with Kano Pillars after losing 4-2 on penalties to Enugu Rangers following a 3-3 draw.
The 2018 final was galling as Kano Pillars let a 3-0 lead slip.
Rabiu Ali and Ahmed Musa played for Kano Pillars in 2009. Musa went to Europe and shun like a bright star with the Super Eagles while Ali stayed back till this day and became an NPFL Legend. But when Musa came back to Pillars in 2021 Ali handed him the captain armband
— Mr. Nigerian Football⚽️🇳🇬 (@AJSilverCFC) October 14, 2023
They made amends the following season with a 4-3 penalty win over Niger Tornadoes.
He has scored five goals for the national team. They include goals against Mozambique and Morocco (2014 African Nations Championship), Benin (2018 African Nations Championship qualification) and Equatorial Guinea in the 2018 African Nations Championship.
- Ali has scored 63 goals in 246 appearances in CAF competitions. No Nigerian league player comes close
- He won the WAFU Cup with Nigeria in 2010
- The longest-serving player in the NPFL.
- The oldest player in all African leagues.
- The most consecutive seasons in the NPFL.
- All-time highest goalscorer for Kano Pillars
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago