The global tech giants paid tribute to Nigeria's most famous number 9 with a doodle of his most famous celebration – the net grab in Nigeria vs Bulgaria on 21 June 1994 in the country's first-ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
It was a tournament to remember and Rashidi Yekini is an icon for the three-time AFCON winners.
Today, we're honoring the legacy of Rashidi Yekini on his 60th birthday with a special Doodle. Nigeria's all-time top striker, his passion and iconic World Cup goal celebration left an indelible mark on the world of football.⚽️🇳🇬🎂#RashidiYekini60 #GoogleDoodle #AfricanLegends pic.twitter.com/hOSVi5JCLo
— Google in Africa (@googleafrica) October 23, 2023
Life and times of Rashidi Yekini as Google Doodle celebrates the “Goals father”
Google Doodle is the tech giants' way of celebrating memorable men, women, cultures, innovations and events that have shaped the history of many nations and the world.
On 23 October 2024, Google Doodle chose to celebrate Rashidi Yekini with Nigerians.
The “Goals father”, as Nigerians fondly called him during his playing days, was beloved by Nigeria national football team fans for his ability to squeeze shots past goalkeepers and his overall talent, which helped the Super Eagles scale many hurdles.
One of those hurdles is the CAF FIFA World Cup qualification tournament, which the team struggled in until Yekini came along.
He played a pivotal role in getting Nigeria to USA where the tournament was hosted in 1994. He scored Nigeria's first goal ever in the FIFA World Cup in the 21st minute of Nigeria's first group game against Bulgaria.
Overcome with joy, he followed the ball into the net, clutched the net, cheered and cried tears of joy. It is considered one of football's most iconic celebrations in its history and that which is featured in the Google Doodle for 23 October 2023.
Nigeria would go on to win the group and lose narrowly to Italy in the round of 16 with a 2 – 1 scoreline after extra time.
One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on at Google this year has come to life. So glad to be honoring Rashidi Yekini’s legacy with today’s Google Doodle. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/1fjn2qF9Is
— Dolapo Amusat (@theGeekyMidget) October 23, 2023
Yekini, who was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, led a life of poverty until his big break in football through UNTL FC in Kaduna.
He would go on to represent other teams in Nigeria before moving to Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Tunisia, Switzerland and Greece.
He scored many goals and won many awards, including the African Footballer of the Year award in 1993, being the first Nigerian player to win the award.
He had 58 caps for the Super Eagles in 14 years, scoring 37 times which is, to this day, the record for most goals scored for the Super Eagles.
3 facts about Google Doodle feature & Rashidi Yekini
Here are 3 facts about the 23 October 2023 Google Doodle feature and Super Eagles icon Rashidi Yekini.
Highest Goalscorer in Ivory Coast
Rashidi Yekini was the highest scorer in the Ivory Coast league for three consecutive years (1988, 1989, and 1990) while playing for Africa Sports National.
State of origin
Rashidi Yekini was born in Kaduna but his parents are from Kwara State. They moved to Kaduna for greener pastures as it was one of the more flourishing cities in the country at the time.
It's 🇳🇬Rashidi Yekini's 60th Birthday:
• Nigeria's highest scorer
• Scored Nigeria's 1st W/Cup ⚽
• African Footballer of The Year 93
• AFCON 🏅🥈🥈🥉
• Portugese Liga Top Scorer 94
• AFCON Top Scorer 92 & 94
• Tunis 94 Best Player
• 3rd AFCON highest scorer (13) pic.twitter.com/A6oIhSvSMs
— FAST TRACK 🇳🇬 (@FastTrackNaija) October 23, 2023
From welder to Member of the Order of the Niger (MON)
Because of his family's poverty, Rashidi Yekini started off as a welder and only played football in his spare time despite wanting to go pro.
After being scouted and rising up the ranks as a football star, Yekini led Nigeria to the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.
He was the top scorer and the best player of that edition, and the Federal Government of Nigeria honoured him with the Member of the Order of the Niger award for his efforts.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago