Yakubu as captain of Nigeria in 2008
|Full name||Yakubu Aiyegbeni|
|Date of birth||22 November 1982|
|Place of birth||Benin City, Nigeria|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Current club||Guangzhou R&F|
|1998||→ Gil Vicente (loan)|
|1999–2000||→ Hapoel Kfar Saba (loan)||23||(6)|
|2003||→ Portsmouth (loan)||13||(7)|
|2011||→ Leicester City (loan)||20||(11)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 7 April 2013.
† Appearances (Goals).
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (born 22 November 1982 in Benin City), generally known simply as Yakubu, is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a striker for Guangzhou R&F and the Nigerian national football team. His nickname is "The Yak".
His performances in the 2002–03 UEFA Champions League earned a loan move to English club Portsmouth which became permanent as they were promoted to the Premier League in 2003. He has since played for English clubs Middlesbrough, Everton and Leicester City before moving to Blackburn on the final day of the summer transfer window of 2011. He is the third highest scorer in the history of the Nigeria national football team, and represented them at four African Cup of Nations finals, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the football at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Club career 
Early career 
Israeli team Maccabi Haifa paid $300,000 US for his services in 1999. He was loaned to another Israeli Premier League club, Hapoel Kfar Saba, for the 1999–2000 season. They were relegated to the Liga Leumit after finishing 12th out of 14. Yakubu was close to a move to the Ukrainian Dynamo Kyiv on a loan but the deal never occurred. During his spell at Maccabi Haifa, he won the Israeli Premier League on two consecutive occasions: 2001–02 and 2002–03. He had an excellent scoring record with the club, both in the domestic and international competitions, breaking several club records. Yakubu's highest scoring season at Haifa was 2001–02, when he scored 13 times in 22 games (League season was 33 matches). He came to England and trained with Derby County but could not obtain a work permit at the time. He scored seven goals in eight European Cup appearances in the 2002–03 season UEFA Champions League, (including a hat-trick against Olympiakos and a penalty in the 3–0 win over Manchester United).
Yakubu moved to English club Portsmouth of the First Division (now the Championship) on loan on 6 January 2003. Signed by Harry Redknapp, Yakubu helped Portsmouth win the 2002–03 Division 1 title, scoring at a rate of one goal every two games (7 in 14 matches). He made his debut as a 57th minute substitute for Vincent Pericard in a 1–1 away match versus Brighton & Hove Albion on 18 January. On 1 February he started for the first time and scored after 4 minutes at home to Grimsby Town. The match ended 3–0 with Yakubu substituted for Pericard after 89 minutes. Seven days later, Yakubu scored a goal in each half of a 6–2 victory over Derby County for his first brace in English football. He gained his second brace of the season with two first-half goals in a 5–0 away victory at Millwall on 1 March.
Yakubu made his loan spell at Portsmouth permanent in May 2003 for a fee of £4 million. He played 37 of Portsmouth's 38 Premier League matches in 2003–04, starting all but two. Yakubu's 16 goals made him the club's leading goal-scorer, and joint-sixth highest scorer in the entire league.
Yakubu scored his first Premier League goal in his second match, opening a 1–1 draw versus Manchester City on 23 August 2003. After eight consecutive league matches without a goal, he scored a brace in a League Cup match away to Nottingham Forest on 29 October, one of which was in extra time of the 4–2 win. After one more Premier League match without a goal, Yakubu scored the final goal of a 6–1 home win over Leeds United on 8 November. For the next seven league matches and a League Cup defeat to Portsmouth's local rivals Southampton, Yakubu did not score a goal. This run ended on 3 January 2004 as he scored an 89th minute winner in the FA Cup third round match at home to Blackpool. Three days later he scored an equaliser in the Premier League as Portsmouth lost 2–1 away to Aston Villa. On 10 January he scored his first Premier League brace with two goals in the second half of a 4–2 home win over Manchester City. He did not score for the next six Premier League games or three FA Cup matches, during which he also played at the 2004 African Cup of Nations. Yakubu also missed his only Premier League match of the season during this spell – a 3–0 loss at Liverpool where Svetoslav Todorov started in his place on 17 March 2004.
Yakubu ended the season with 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches, starting with one each in four straight games, the first being the only goal in the South Coast Derby versus Southampton on 21 March. This was followed by a late winner at Blackburn Rovers in a 2–1 away victory, and an equaliser away to Charlton Athletic.
He scored four in a single game as Portsmouth defeated Middlesbrough 5–1 on the final day of the season. During the summer of 2004, several other Premiership teams were interested in purchasing Yakubu for up to £10 million, but he chose to stay and help consolidate the club's Premiership position. His final goal for Portsmouth in May 2005 before he left the club – the equaliser in a 1–1 home draw to Bolton Wanderers in the penulitimate league game of the season – was the goal that ensured Portsmouth would not be relegated from Premiership in the 2004–05 season.
After the 2004–05 season, he transferred from Portsmouth to Middlesbrough for a £7.5 million record fee for a nigerian ever . Yakubu scored the only goal of the game with a penalty in the first leg of the UEFA Cup last 16 round at home against Roma, giving Middlesbrough a 1–0 victory, who later went through on away goals. His performances were rewarded, as he helped Middlesbrough reach the 2006 UEFA Cup Final against Sevilla, in which they lost 4–0.
His transfer from Portsmouth to Middlesbrough in July 2005 is one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pinhas Zahavi and Barry Silkman.
Yakubu was transferred to Everton in August 2007 for a fee of £11.25 million on a five-year deal, which was at the time the most the club had ever paid for a player. Shunning the traditional centre-forwards' number 9, Yakubu asked to be assigned number 22, setting this number as a goal-scoring target for his first season, a feat he fell one goal short of achieving. He scored 11 minutes into his debut for the club, the first goal in a 2–1 win against Bolton Wanderers at Reebok Stadium in September 2007. His first "yak"-trick came against Fulham in a 3–0 home league win in December 2007. Yakubu travelled to Ghana in early 2008 to compete in the Cup of Nations. Following Nigeria's exit from the competition, he was late in returning to his club, and as a result was dropped by manager David Moyes once back in England. His double against Newcastle United in a 3–1 win at Goodison Park on the last day of the 2007–08 season helped the Toffees clinch fifth place and a place in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup competition. He finished his first season with 15 Premier League goals to his name, and 21 goals in all competitions for Everton. Yakubu got his highest goal tally for a single season, and also became the first Everton player since Peter Beardsley to net 20 goals in a season.
Yakubu scored his 100th goal in English football in a league game at West Bromwich Albion early in the Premier League 2008–09 season. He continued his great start to the season with a goal against Standard Liège in the UEFA Cup. He got back on the scoresheet with a lucky, but clever, goal against Middlesbrough, his first goal in 10 games, but ruptured his achilles tendon in the 1–0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur on 30 November, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Yakubu played his first competitive game after the achilles tendon injury against Burnley Reserves, and in his first start for the first team in almost a year, he scored within 11 minutes against Hull City in the League Cup. He came on for Jô in first-half injury time and scored an equaliser with his first touch to bring Everton level at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Then he scored the winning goal against Stoke. Everton fans showed their love for their striker by giving him the chant "Feed the Yak and he will score"
Leicester City 
Yakubu joined Leicester City on loan until the end of the season on 13 January 2011, with the possibility of a permanent deal. He made his debut and scored in a 1–1 draw against Preston North End on 15 January 2011, followed by another goal in a 4–2 win over Millwall on 22 January.
On 12 February 2011 he scored a left footed volley in their 2–0 win over local rivals Derby County. On 2 April 2011, he scored his first hat-trick against his former club Middlesbrough. He then scored a double in Leicester's 4–2 win over Watford.
Blackburn Rovers 
On 31 August 2011, Yakubu signed a three-year deal with Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee and was assigned the number 24 shirt by manager Steve Kean. He scored his first and second goals for Blackburn Rovers on 17 September on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in which Blackburn won 4–3. He was voted Man of the Match as he helped Blackburn to their first win of the season, with Blackburn fans chanting "Feed the Yak and he will score!" by the time the final whistle blew. He scored his third goal in the league in the 3–3 away draw against Norwich City. Yakubu's fourth and fifth goals of the league season came in an away 3–3 draw at Wigan Athletic on 19 November 2011. He opened the scoring from long range after 65 seconds and equalised with an injury-time penalty after a high-foot foul on his goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who had come up for a corner. He had earlier been behind an incident when Blackburn were 2–1 down, by dummying a short corner to allow team-mate Morten Gamst Pedersen to dribble the ball from the corner and cross for Junior Hoilett to equalise the game 2–2. At the end of the game, Yakubu admitted that he did not touch the ball and that the goal should not have stood. On 3 December 2011, Yakubu scored all four goals for Blackburn in a 4–2 home win over Swansea City. He scored two in each half, finishing with a penalty. It was his first Blackburn hat-trick and his first four-goal game since the last day of the 2003–04 season, for Portsmouth against Middlesbrough. He scored 2 goals, one being a penalty, in his side's shock 2–3 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 31 December 2011 which left him on 13 goals for the season in all competitions. On 15 January 2012, in a match against Fulham, Yakubu was sent off for the first time for a straight red in his nine years in the Premier League. On his return from suspension, he scored against QPR. On 10 April 2012 Yakubu scored twice, while missing one penalty and scoring a second, in Blackburn's 2–3 loss at home to Liverpool. In his first season at Blackburn, he has made significant contributions by scoring an impressive 18 goals, but Blackburn were relegated to the Championship by the end of the season thanks to a 1–0 home loss to in-form Wigan Athletic. Because of that, Yakubu then stated he did not want to play Championship football and wanted to leave Blackburn.
Guangzhou R&F 
Yakubu confirmed on 28 June 2012 that he had left Blackburn and had signed for Chinese side Guangzhou R&F, on an initial three-year deal. On 15 July, Yakubu made his Chinese Super League debut in a Guangzhou Derby match which Guangzhou R&F played against Guangzhou Evergrande at Tianhe Stadium. He scored the winning goal of the match in the 87th minute, ending Guangzhou Evergrande's 34-league-home-match unbeaten run.
International career 
2000 Olympic Games 
In September 2000, Yakubu featured in Nigeria's squad for football at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia. Nigeria were the holders for the tournament. Then of Maccabi Haifa, the 17-year old Yakubu wore the number 9 shirt. He scored the injury-time equaliser in Nigeria's first match, a 3–3 draw with Honduras on 13 September in Adelaide. He also played against the hosts Australia on 16 September in Sydney as his side won 3–2 but did not play on 19 September as they drew with Italy in Adelaide. He featured in the quarter-finals as Nigeria lost 4–1 to Chile in Melbourne on 23 September.
2002 African Cup of Nations and 2002 FIFA World Cup 
Yakubu made his full international debut on 22 April 2000 in a 4–0 home win in Lagos against Eritrea in qualification for the 2002 African Cup of Nations. He scored his first international goal in an away win against Namibia on 16 June 2001 in the same qualification campaign. On 1 July 2001, he scored his first international brace, with the second and fourth goals in a 4–0 away win over Sudan in 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification. He was named in the squad for the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali and was given the number 8 shirt by manager Shaibu Amodu. On 9 February 2002, Yakubu scored the only goal of the third-place play-off against Mali after 29 minutes. However, Yakubu was not named later in the year in the squad selected by new manager Festus Onigbinde for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
2004 African Cup of Nations 
On 7 June 2003, Yakubu scored Nigeria's first two goals as they came from behind to beat Malawi 4–1 in a qualifier for the 2004 African Cup of Nations. He retained the number 8 shirt in the squad named for the finals in Tunisia by manager Christian Chukwu but did not score.
2006 FIFA World Cup qualification 
Yakubu scored the final goal in an away 3–0 victory over Zimbabwe and an equaliser in an away 1–1 draw against Gabon as Nigeria were beaten to the qualification place by Angola and missed the finals for the first time since 1990. Despite having a goal difference superior by +14 to +8, Nigeria did not qualify as the tie-break was on head-to-head between Nigeria and Angola.
Decision against 2006 African Cup of Nations 
Although Nigeria gained a place at the tournament due to their performance in World Cup qualification, Yakubu decided not to play at the 2006 African Cup of Nations to concentrate on his form at Middlesbrough instead. He was praised for his decision as the club defeated defending champions and league leaders Chelsea 3–0.
2010 FIFA World Cup 
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Yakubu notably missed an open goal from three metres against South Korea in the last Group game but later went on to score a penalty. Yakubu's penalty made sure that Nigeria earned a 2–2 draw, but this was not enough for his side to progress out of the group stages.
International goals 
- Scores and results table. Nigeria's goal tally first:
Personal life 
In 2008 Yakubu married Yvonne Lameen Ikhana, the daughter of former Nigerian international football player Kadiri Ikhana, who is also the father-in-law to former Nigerian international football player Patrick Ovie. Yakubu and Ikhana have a daughter named Kayla. He used to play barefoot on the streets of Benin, Nigeria, until his brother gave him a pair of boots aged 12.
Career statistics 
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Israel||League||Israel State Cup||Toto Cup||Europe||Total|
|1999–2000||Maccabi Haifa||Israeli Premier League|
|1999–2000||Hapoel Kfar Saba (Loan)||23||6||23||6|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2011–12||Blackburn Rovers||Premier League||30||17||0||0||3||1||-||33||18|
|China PR||League||FA Cup||CSL Cup||Asia||Total|
|2012||Guangzhou R&F||Chinese Super League||14||9||1||1||-||-||15||10|
Maccabi Haifa 
- Toto Cup :
- Winner: 2002
- Football League Division One :
- Winner: 2002–03
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- "Yakubu | Season 2002/2003". Soccer Base.
- "Football photographic encyclopedia, footballer, world cup, champions league, football championship, olympic games & hero images by". Sporting-heroes.net.
- "Premier League Top Scorers – 2003–2004". Free-elements.com.
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- "Yakubu | Season 2003/2004". Soccer Base.
- Barnes, Stuart (8 May 2005). "Premiership: Portsmouth 1 – 1 Bolton". The Guardian (London).
- "Premier League High Scorers – Portsmouth". Free-elements.com.
- May, John (8 September 2007). "Yakubu has not asked for move.". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "2005/06: Sevilla end 58-year wait –". UEFA. 1 June 2006.
- "Yakubu move is probed. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 9 October 2006.
- "What Stevens said about each club". The Daily Telegraph (London). 16 June 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007.
- "Everton Transfers". Transfer League. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Premier League Season Preview: Everton". Goal.com. 11 August 2008.
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- Rowbottom, Mike (9 December 2007). "Everton 3 Fulham 0: Yakubu's treble rewards patience of Everton faithful". The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 September 2008.
- Yakubu Aiyegbenji career stats at Soccerbase
- Herbert, Ian (12 May 2008). "Everton 3 Newcastle United 1: Yakubu's double seals high five for Everton". The Independent (London).
- Bevan, Chris (23 August 2008). "West Brom 1–2 Everton". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
- "Everton 1–0 Stoke". BBC News. 30 October 2010.
- Yak Becomes A Fox Leicester City F.C., 13 January 2011
- "Preston 1–1 Leicester". BBC Sport. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "Leicester 4 – 2 Millwall". BBC Sport. 22 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Yakubu Signs For Rovers". Blackburn Rovers. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- Smith, Rory (17 September 2011). "Blackburn Rovers 4 Arsenal 3: match report". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Beasley, Rob. The Sun (London) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/3820401/Blackburn-4-Arsenal-3.html
|url=missing title (help).
- "Feed The Yak And He Will Score | Complete Sports". Completesportsnigeria.com.
- "Wigan 3–3 Blackburn". BBC News. 19 November 2011.
- "Small voice costs us – Martinez". BBC News. 20 November 2011.
- "Report: Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City – Barclays Premier League – ESPNFC". ESPN FC. 3 December 2011.
- Thornton, Bill (3 December 2011). "Blackburn 4 Swansea 2: Four-star Yak puts Rovers on his back to ease Kean pressure". Daily Mail (London).
- Gibson, Richard (15 January 2012). "Morten Gamst Pedersen urges Blackburn to resist selling key players". The Guardian (London).
- "Yakubu joins Chinese side Guangzhou R&F – ESPNFC". ESPN FC. 28 June 2012.
- Okeleji, Oluwashina (28 June 2012). "BBC Sport – Yakubu leaves Blackburn to join Guangzhou R&F in China". BBC.
- "FIFA Player Statistics: Yakubu AYEGBENI". FIFA.
- "Yakubu happy to miss out on cup. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com.
- . BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2010/matches/match_35/default.stm. Missing or empty
- "Yakubu penalty draws Nigeria level". BBC News. 22 June 2010.
- Taylor, Daniel (22 June 2010). "Nigeria 2–2 South Korea – World Cup Group B match report". The Guardian (London).
- [dead link]
- "Nigeria coach to recall Yakubu". BBC News. 1 January 2012.
- Yakubu Aiyegbeni career stats at Soccerbase
- Yakubu Aiyegbeni – UEFA competition record
- Yakubu Aiyegbeni – FIFA competition record