An ode to Rabiu Ali – the timeless Kano Pillars midfielder

An ode to Rabiu Ali – the timeless Kano Pillars midfielder
Credit: @NPFL_News Twitter

Rabiu Ali, who's regarded by many as the best midfielder in history of the Nigeria Premier League, guided Kano Pillars back to Nigeria's top-flight league for the 2023/24 season after one year in the country's second division.

Rabiu Ali was born on 27 September 1980 in Kano, Nigeria. He is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Kano Pillars and has featured 18 times for Nigeria's national team, the Super Eagles, with five goals under his belt.

The timeless Kano Pillars captain and living legend is regarded by the club as its best ever player, who has been with the club through the good and the bad times since he became their player.

On leaving Total Pillars in 2011 to sign for the Sai Masu Gida side, Rabiu Ali has spent 12 years at the Kano city club. He was at the heart of the midfield for Kano Pillars when they reigned supreme in the Nigeria Premier League, winning the league three years on the stretch from 2011/12 season to 2013/14 season.

The three-time NPL champion has garnered praise and respect from every nook and cranny of Nigerian domestic football, a player whose dedication and loyalty to Kano Pillars has remained unwavering for more than a decade. A true Sai Masu Gida!

Rabiu Ali, former Super Eagles player

Rabiu Ali made his debut for Nigeria as a CHAN Super Eagle (home-based Super Eagle) in 2013. He has gone on to make 18 appearances for Nigeria under this category.

He got his first goal for Nigeria against Mozambique in the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) held in Cape Town, South Africa. And his last goal for Nigeria came in the 2018 edition of the CHAN held in Agadir, Morocco against Equatorial Guinea. Overall, he has scored five goals for Nigeria.

Rabiu Ali honours

These are the list of Rabiu Ali's records that we can find:

Rabiu Ali at 100 NPL goals
Credit: @NPFL_News
  • 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
    Rabiu Ali has won a total of three NPL titles with Kano Pillars
  • Ali won Nigeria's FA Cup with Kano Pillars
  • Longest serving player in the NPL.
  • Oldest player in all African leagues.
  • Most goals in consecutive seasons than any other player in the league (105 goals)
  • Most consecutive seasons in the NPL.
  • Got relegated in the 2021/22 season.
  • Got promoted in the 2023-24 season
  • All time highest goalscorer for Kano Pillars
  • All time highest goalscorer in the league with over 105 goals and counting.

The importance of Rabiu Ali for Kano Pillars

Rabiu Ali's influence in this Kano Pillars setup is immense. He followed the team to the second division when they got relegated from the top-flight in the 2021/22 season.

He could have opted to leave the club when offers came for him but he chose to remain with Kano Pillars.

His decision to stay put helped Kano Pillars to qualify from the abridged 2022/23 NNL season to the Super 8 playoffs which Pillars finished top of the Northern Conference Group with 6 points, to earn a berth back to the Nigeria Premier League.

It's important to note that Ali has scored over 100 goals in the league for Kano Pillars as a midfielder. As such, the Sai Masu Gida will be needing his goals once more in the coming campaign.

With Rabiu Ali still in the books of Kano Pillars, the club can fight to remain in the league, and also compete for titles next season.

Rabiu Ali in action for Kano Pillars
Credit: @NPFL_News

How Nigerian football fans reacted to Rabiu Ali guiding Kano Pillars back to the league

Followers of the Nigerian league showered praise on the Kano Pillars legendary midfielder after helping the club secure promotion in the 2023 Super 8 playoffs held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State.

Reacting from Twitter, one fan with the name handle @ebby_oshodi said: “NPL and Kano Pillars legend”

Another fan with the handle @idris_sabaa commented “I'm surprised he didn't play in Europe. One of the best midfielders ever in NPFL”

Further reactions are under this Tweet:

Frequently Asked Questions about Rabiu Ali

How old is Rabiu Ali?

Born on 27 September 1980, Rabiu Ali is 42 years old.

How long has Rabiu Ali played for Kano Pillars?

Ali has played for Pillars since 2011. It's been 12 years.

What is Rabiu Ali fondly called?

He is popularly called the Nigerian Pele.

How many Nigeria Premier League goals has Rabiu Ali scored?

Rabiu Ali has scored 105 goals in the NPL

How many league titles has Rabiu Ali won?

Rabiu Ali has won three Nigerian league titles.

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.