Yakubu Aiyegbeni retires: Four things the world won't forget about the Nigerian

Author: www.itsroundanditswhite.co.uk
Yakubu Aiyegbeni retires
Yakubu Aiyegbeni retires

After two decades of incessant bullying, endless torture and habitual havoc-wrecking on opposition defences, Yakubu Aiyegbeni has called time on his playing career. On Wednesday, he had this to say: "I would like to officially announce my retirement from professional football today.'' Clubless since leaving Coventry City in April, the colossal Nigerian waited until his 35th birthday to break the silence.

A beast of a striker, Yakubu was willing to prey on defenders who dared get between him and the net. Unsurprisingly, as he was programmed that way by Harry Redknapp shortly after touching down in England. “Harry makes you believe that you can kill a defender, even when you play against the big teams," Yakubu admitted.

The striker spent half his club career in English football, graciously kitting for seven sides. Four of which - Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers were in England's top division. He proved his ability as a marksman over a long period. Like his popular chant, ''feed the Yak and he will score.''

In the Nigerian icon's honour, we look back at four things he will always be remembered for.

Goal record in English football by an African

Yakubu is Africa's third top goalscorer in Premier League history, only behind Didier Drogba (104) and Emmanuel Adebayor (97). His 95 strikes put him 37th on the all-time scoring chart, level with Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and ahead of Dimitar Berbatov, Dennis Bergkamp, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo. Taking into account his total tally in English football, however, Yak stands taller than all other Africans with 114 goals.

Champions League hat-trick heroics

Yakubu stormed into the limelight while at the Israeli side, Maccabi Haifa. He racked up seven strikes in the 2002/03 Champions League, including one during the 3-0 demolition of Manchester United. But it was the Nigerian's heroics against Olympiacos which attracted scouts from all over the world. Aged 19, he notched three beautiful solo goals, making him only the third teenager to score a hat-trick in Europe's premier club competition.

Horrendous miss at the 2010 World Cup

The Super Eagles faced a make or break clash against South Korea in their final group game at the 2010 World Cup. Anything other than victory would end the country's sojourn in South Africa.

Out of nowhere, an opportunity fell to Yakubu, who at that time was Nigeria's most-inform striker. A simple tap-in was required just three metres away from goal. He blew it, though, dismally. Although his name was later added to the scoresheet, it wasn't enough as the game ended 2-2. The whole nation is yet to recover from the shock.

Nigeria's third all-time top scorer

For many Nigerians, Yakubu's plethora of goals at club level didn't really count. What mattered was his performance each time he donned the green and white jersey. Although the Yak retired from international football five years ago, he didn't disappoint, scoring 21 times in 57 appearances. His impressive return makes him the nation's third highest scorer in history behind Rashidi Yekini and Segun Odegbami.