Yakubu Aiyegbeni: Unforgettable and Unforgivable
After gracing the green and white stripes of the Nigerian national team colours, Yakubu has decided to call it a day, ending his professional status as a footballer. While he enjoyed the goal records abroad, especially in the Barclays Premier League (now known as English Premier League), there were some milestones he achieved in the Super Eagles colours; he recorded 21 goals in 57 appearances for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, ranking him the 3rdbest all-time goalscorer ever in the history of the senior team.
Yakubu was the first African to hit hat-trick in the UEFA Champions league while playing for Maccabi Haifa (He was only 19 at that time). He is also the Nigerian with the highest and 3rdAfrican goalscorer in the Premier league (95 goals). In his career, he scored 4 hat-tricks in the Premier League.
Yakubu was very adventurous as a footballer and this mark saw him play for 14 teams in 5 different countries in his professional career. I personally remember him playing in white and blue colours of Portsmouth. Looking at the records, it is of worth to know that Yakubu has more premier league goals than Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Dennis Bergkamp, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Yakubu would then go on to face shame and hate after missing an opportunity from 3 metres against South Korea in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in which fellow Africans, South Africa hosted. A goal which would have seen us make it out of group stage. He later went on to score a penalty in the same game but it was not enough for his redemption and Super Eagles qualification.
The 35-year old big forward announced his retirement on his birthday, a significant day in his life. Big Yak would hope he is remembered for his prolific goal-scoring ability and not for his woes in the latter stage of his career.
This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace
Originally published at tushmagazine.com.ng on November 24, 2017.