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    Rashidi Yekini @60: Google Doodle pays tribute to iconic Nigerian footballer

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    Google Doodle is honoring the 60th birthday of Rashidi Yekini, the legendary Nigerian footballer known for his exceptional goal-scoring abilities and nicknamed the “Goalsfather.” Yekini was born on October 23, 1963, in Kaduna, Nigeria, and his journey from a challenging early life marked by homelessness and poverty to football stardom is celebrated.

    Driven by his passion for football, Yekini initially worked as a welder and mechanic before being noticed by scouts. He began his football career with ‘UNTL FC’ in Kaduna in 1981 and later played for the Shooting Stars, where he established an impressive record of 45 goals in 53 games.

    In 1983, Yekini’s outstanding goal-scoring abilities earned him the title of ‘African Footballer of the Year,’ making him the first Nigerian player to achieve this honor. The following year, he played a crucial role in leading the Shooting Stars to the finals of the African Champions Cup.

    Yekini’s football career extended beyond Nigeria as he played for various clubs in Spain, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland. Notably, he received the Bola de Prata (Silver Ball) in the 1993-94 season as the league’s top-scoring player while playing for the Portuguese team Vitória Setúbal.JAMB Portal

    As a key figure for Nigeria’s national team, the ‘Super Eagles,’ Yekini played a pivotal role in their qualification for the 1994 World Cup. His iconic celebration, where he clutched the net with both arms and shed tears of joy after scoring Nigeria’s first goal in the World Cup, remains a memorable moment in football history

    Throughout his career, Yekini continued to represent Nigeria for over 14 years, participating in the 1998 World Cup and scoring a total of 37 goals in 58 games for the national team, setting a record for the most goals scored for Nigeria.

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    Obudu mountain race returns

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    Nine years after it was discontinued and missing from the annual tourism offerings of the state, the famous Obudu mountain race will resume this year.

    The tournament, a brainchild of former Governor Donald Duke, was conceived during his second term in office and kicked off in 2005.

    The 11.25km tournament was designed, among others, to boost global awareness of the Obudu Cattle Ranch in the northern part of the state and also make the youths in the state to embrace athletics.

    The mountain race gained global acclaim over the years and was an associate member race of the World Mountain Running Association and at a point was endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

    The tournament which had about $250,000 dollars available for grabs by various categories of winners was, however, suspended by the government due to a number of factors, including lack of funds and benefit to locals in the area.

    Things have, however, taken a turn for good as the state tourism commissioner, Abubakar Ewa, has announced a plan by the government to revive the mountain race.

    The commissioner, who disclosed this in Calabar, the capital of the state, said it is part of a wider plan by the state government to bring in lots of innovations into the tourism sector of the state. He also announced a plan by the government to relaunch its ecotourism sector.

    “We hope to bring lots of innovations into the tourism sector and plans are afoot to revive the mountain race this year and also relaunch ecotourism in the state.

    “We must organize packages for the leisure of tourists, particularly as the state is very rich in eco-tourism. We are also developing our tour sites in the state like the Qua Falls, which are very fantastic, Boki Water Falls, Drill Ranch, monoliths and others,” he said.

    He also announced that as part of plans to revive the mountain race, the government has been removing all the obstacles that have over the years impeded the smooth functioning of the Obudu Cattle Ranch and has paid over N200-million salary liabilities.

    Also speaking, the executive secretary of the carnival commission, Austin Cobham, said creative innovations will be added to this year’s carnival even as they intend to put non- competing bands ahead so that they can create sensitization and awareness of the carnival.

    He also announced that in addition to the Carnival Calabar in December, two other carnivals have been added to the calendar, which are the Ikom and Ogoja carnivals in October and November. He dded that the government is aggressively expanding infrastructure in the state for the carnivals and the benefit of the people.

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    Katsina Govt Hosts Dambe Warriors Competition To Promote Tourism

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    To encourage tourism, the Katsina State Government has restated its total commitment to promoting the state’s cultural heritage and traditions.

    The Katsina State Commissioner for Information and Culture Bala Zango disclosed this to reporters on Sunday at the sideline of the Season 3 Dambe Warriors Circuit Fight 11 Competition, otherwise known as traditional boxing held at the Katsina Open Air Theatre.

    According to him, Katsina is a culture-friendly state, thus assuring the state government’s readiness, to organise inter-local government’s traditional boxing competition.

    On his part, the Co-founder of Dambe Warriors Chidi Anyina described Dambe as a new structure of attracting more funding from investors within and outside Nigeria, which he said will, in turn, implate the economy.

    He described the power of Dambe entertainment as one that can not be overstated, saying that the narrative can be changed through such sports as the Dambe,

    “It’s just a league. In each category, each fighter will fight in different cities starting from Katsina, Niger, Abuja, and Kano among other participating states.

    “We have light weight, middle weight and heavy weight categories. The last two will be disqualified and will leave the league and we will recruit new fighters as promotional for a competition. The third group will now fight at the finals to determine the king of Dambe in that category.

    “We sign the best fighters and pay them a good fee, monthly salaries, and appearance bonuses. For those that win at the finals, we give them one million naira each and N500,000 for the new fighters.

    “This is a new structure of attracting more funding from investment within and outside the country.

    “The locals are sleeping on this, we can take it to the international league. This will also impact the economy because the power of entertainment can not be overstated. Narrative can be changed through sports like this,” Anyina added.

    Earlier, three rounds of Dambe competition were conducted between Autan Kudawa from Kano State who eventually got 88 points, and Manu Shagon Garkuwar Cindo from Kebbi State who in the end scored 87 points.

    During the competition, a Nasarawa fighter Aljanin Bahagon defeated Dan Bahagon Zayyanu after scoring 87 points. His rival scored 86 points.

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    10 years after, Obudu mountain race returns

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    The Cross River state government has said it was bringing back a rebranded Obudu mountain race which it last hosted in 2014 under the Liyel Imoke-led administration.

    The 11.25 km international mountain race, initiated by the then governor Donald Duke in 2005, was suspended by former governor Ben Ayade in 2015 for what he said was for lack of funds and sponsorship.

    But briefing Journalists in Calabar, Tuesday, the Commissioner for Culture and tourism, Mr Abubakar Ewa, said the “rebranded, reinvigorated Obudu mountain race will take place this year.”

    Ewa said the state government has paid the backlog of allowances of the Obudu Ranch resort staff and that the said staff were later absorbed into the state civil service, with more than N200 million used to settle the matter.

    Earlier, the Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr Austin Cobham, said the state was ready to take the Carnival Calabar to another height, describing the annual event as an asset to Nigeria.

    Speaking while releasing the time table of activities lined up for this year’s Carnival Calabar, Cobham said, “we are rejigging, reinventing and restructuring the Carnival at the same time.

    “”We are out to return Cross River state as the hub of Nigeria tourism. We are having activities from now till December in our tourism calendar. Some of the programs, like essay competition and African fashion fiesta have sponsors already.”

    The Secretary disclosed that Ogoja in the north and Ikom in the central part of the state would also have their separate Carnivals on October 27 and November 24 respectively to give the rural people a sense of belonging.

    He said the main Carnival Calabar would be held on December 28, 2024.

    The first Dry Run, he noted, would be held on October 20, the second and last Dry Run on November 27 and December 8, 2024, while Cultural Carnival and Junior Carnival would hold on December 26 and 27, 2024 respectively.

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