By Jamilu Uba Adamu
Last week the longest Nigeria Professional Football League player and Kano Pillars FC Captain Rabiu Ali Pele celebrated his 43rd birthday and deservingly innumerable people poured in with their birthday wishes to celebrate him.
It is remarkable that even at the age of 43 Kano Pillars FC Rabiu Ali Pele had a lot of supporters among Nigeria Football fans and he is still actively playing good Football.
As a regular visitor to Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata (Home ground of Kano Pillars FC), I hardly missed a home match during the 2007/2008 Nigerian Premier Football League, the season Kano Pillars FC won its first League trophy.
I can vividly recall the first time I witnessed the debut of Rabiu Ali Pele into the Kano Pillars FC team, coming in as a substitute in a home match to replace another Kano Pillars FC midfield maestro Solomon Okpako during the 2008/2009 Nigerian Premier Football league season, as at that time only a few among the spectators knew about him, because he was just joined the team a couple of months, after the team win’s the league in 2008 season, so the die-hard fans were all too familiar with the regulars.
After his introduction into the game, he simply changed the direction of the match and left most of the fans (including yours) in awe after witnessing something amazing about his great football skills, unknown to the fans that was only a tip of something special about his talent and skills.
Ali rose to prominence with Kano Pillars FC and announced his importance to the team in an away match (Cairo) on 2nd of May 2009 during the 2009/2010 CAF Champions League third round second leg match against Al Ahly SC the legend that was Rabiu Ali Pele on that day lived up to his star billing by scoring an extraordinary goal (outside the yard box) for Kano Pillars FC and earned them a 2-2 draw which resulted in elimination of the giants of Cairo.
Rabiu Pele and Kano Pillars FC went on to reach the semifinal of the CAF Champions League 2009/2010 season.
From that day Ali is idolised to no end. ‘Sarki, Sarki, Sarki…”‘ Goma gatan wasa”…his fans chanted whenever they spotted him.
Rabiu Ali Pele was born on 27 September 1980 Kano Fagge area ( coincidentally, the same area where Football first started to develop in old Kano ) he joined Kano Pillars FC from Nassarawa United in 2009 and he was at the heart of Kano Pillars FC midfield when they dominated Nigeria Professional Football league, winning the league three years Consecutively 2011/2012 season to 2013/2014.
Ali, dedication, and loyalty to Kano Pillars FC remained unwavering even when the team was relegated to the lower Nigeria National League, he refused to leave the team, he stayed put and guided the team back to Nigeria’s top-flight league for the 2023/2024 football season.
It gladdens my heart to see football fans all over the world celebrating the man who has won the grandest of prizes at club and personal level and turned himself into an icon and legend of not only Kano Pillars FC but Nigeria’s domestic league in general.
How I wish his career goals and all his records both for club and country will be fully documented, nevertheless, Ali’s staggering longevity and contribution to Kano Pillars FC’s success will forever be remembered.
Happy birthday Goma!
Sarki sai da lema !!
Goma gatan wasa !!!