The player profile and personal life details of Yakubu Ayegbeni, the former Nigerian striker

The player profile and personal life details of Yakubu Ayegbeni, the former Nigerian striker

Helix Odhiambo
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
Nigeria Premier League logo
NGA Premier League
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League

Yakubu Aiyegbeni is a retired Nigerian footballer and one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League. He was nicknamed 'The Yak' because of his skills and ability to bully defenders and score goals. Besides football, the legendary striker enjoys spending time with his family.

How old is Yakubu Aiyegbeni?
FIFA Legend Yakubu Aiyegbeni poses for a portrait in the photo booth ahead of The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 at Excelsior Hotel Gallia on 23 September 2019 in Milan, Italy. Photo: Michael Regan
Source: Getty Images

The Yak enjoyed a successful career in Europe. Many people remember him for his shocking miss against South Korea in the 2010 FIFA World Cup but there is much more to the fascinating athlete. This article highlights Yakubu Aiyegbeni's biography, career achievements, and where he is now.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's profile summary

Full name

Yakubu Aiyegbeni


The Yak

Date of birth

22 November 1982


40 years (as of 9 November 2023)

Place of birth

Benin City, Nigeria






83 kg


Retired footballer

Preferred foot



Yvonne Lameen Ikhana


Kayla and Katriel


Kadiri Ikhana

Net worth

$24 million

Social media


How old is Yakubu Aiyegbeni?

Yakubu Aiyegbeni (aged 40 years old as of 9 November 2023) holds his origins in the state of Benin City, Nigeria, where he began playing football. He has a brother called Eshibor, who helped him in his early career by buying him a pair of boots when he was 12 years old.

Is Yakubu Aiyegbeni married?

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's wife
Former Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni poses for a picture with his wife, Yvonne Lameen Ikhana, during her 40th birthday celebration in September 2021. Photo: @peachyweddings (modified by author)
Source: Instagram

The Yak married Yvonne Lameen Ikhana in 2008. She is the daughter of former Nigerian footballer and coach Kadiri Ikhana. Kadiri is also the father-in-law of former footballer Patrick Ovie. Yakubu Aiyegbeni's wife founded the fashion brand "Perfecto", which caters to women of colour.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's children

Yakubu and Yvonne have two daughters named Kayla and Katriel. The Premier League legend has shared photos and videos of his daughters on Instagram, where he has 109k followers as of November 2023.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's career

The Nigerian left a legacy as one of the best African strikers in football. Here is a timeline of the clubs Yakubu Aiyegbeni played for and his accomplishments.

Early career

The Yak left his village in 1994 for Abeokuta to join Gateway FC's youth team. After three years, he joined Julius Berger FC (now Bridge FC) in Lagos in 1997 and played in the Nigerian Premier League. Aiyegbeni moved to Portuguese club Gil Vicente on loan in 1998 before signing for Israel's Maccabi Haifa. He also had loan spells at Hapoel Kfar Saba and Portsmouth.

Premier League career

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's clubs
Yakubu of Blackburn Rovers celebrates scoring his fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Swansea City at Ewood Park on 3 December 2011 in Blackburn, England. Photo: Chris Brunskill
Source: Getty Images

The Nigerian played for four Premier League teams, scoring dozens of goals. He helped Portsmouth earn promotion to the top flight in 2003, convincing the club to purchase him for $4.91 million. Yakubu bagged 28 EPL goals in 67 matches for Portsmouth in two seasons, then joined Middlesbrough for $9.2 million.

Aiyegbeni helped Middlesbrough reach the 2006 UEFA Cup final, which they lost to Sevilla. He joined Everton in 2007 for a record fee of $13.81 million. Unfortunately, the former striker suffered an Achilles injury that kept him out for several months.

Did Yakubu play for Leicester?

The Yak left for Championship side Leicester City on loan in 2011, then returned to EPL with Blackburn Rovers in the 2011-12 season. He scored 95 Premier League goals in 252 appearances. Yakubu became the fifth-highest African scorer in the league.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's total career goals
Yakubu Aiyegbeni of Leicester City looks dejected during their Championship match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on 22 April 2011 in Nottingham, England. Photo: Michael Regan
Source: Getty Images

The leading scorers are Emmanuel Adebayor (97), Didier Drogba (104), Sadio Mané (111), and Mohamed Salah, who has bagged over 140 in more than 242 matches as of November 2023.

Asia campaign

Aiyegbeni took his skills to Asia, where he signed for Chinese side Guangzhou R&F in 2012. He spent one year with the Chinese club before moving to Qatar's Al-Rayyan SC in 2014.

Return to Europe

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's stats
Reading's Yakubu Aiyegbeni (L) and Nathaniel Chalobah (R) walk out of the tunnel ahead of their game against AFC Bournemouth at the Madejski Stadium on 14 April 2015. Photo: Steven Paston - EMPICS
Source: Getty Images

Reading signed the Yakubu on 2 February 2015 as a free agent. He scored only one goal for the club in a 2-1 win over Derby County at Pride Park to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. He later joined Süper Lig side Kayserispor on a one-year deal on 31 August 2015.

The Yak moved to League Two side Coventry in February 2017, but the club terminated his contract in April after making three appearances.

International career

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's biography
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (8) of Nigeria leads his Super Eagles teammates onto the pitch ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match against Zambia at the Alto da Chela Stadium on 25 January 2010 in Lubango, Angola. Photo: Lefty Shivambu
Source: Getty Images

Aiyegbeni netted 21 goals in 57 games for the Nigerian national team. He played in two Africa Cup of Nations (2000 and 2002) and the 2000 Summer Olympics. The Yak finished his career as the third-highest scorer of the Super Eagles, behind Segun Odegbami (23) and Rashidi Yekini (37).

Yakubu fulfilled his dream of playing in a World Cup after representing his nation at the 2010 edition in South Africa. He scored an equaliser against Korea Republic in the final group match that ended 2-2. Unfortunately, Nigeria failed to qualify for the Round of 16 after finishing behind Argentina and Greece.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's miss

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's miss
Yakubu Ayegbeni (8) of Nigeria misses an open goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match against South Korea at Durban Stadium on 22 June 2010 in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Jamie McDonald
Source: Getty Images

The former Super Eagles star missed a crucial chance that could have given Nigeria a win over South Korea and sent them to the World Cup Round of 16. Aiyegbeni failed to convert from close range after receiving a pass from Jay-Jay Okocha.

The Yak faced numerous criticisms from fans for his miss. However, in an interview nearly a decade later, the striker refused to apologise amidst anger from Nigerian fans.

"I cannot apologise because it was not a deliberate miss. I seriously wanted to score. But it wasn't to be. So many strikers have missed chances too, and nobody will apologise so I won't." Yakubu said in an interview.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's stats and achievements

Yakubu Aiyegbeni's net worth
Yakubu Ayegbeni of Everton celebrates after scoring his team's first and winning goal against Stoke City during their Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park on 30 October 2010 in Liverpool, England. Photo: Clive Brunskill
Source: Getty Images

The former striker won two Israel Premier League titles with Maccabi Haifa and the Football League First Division with Portsmouth. He scored 215 goals in 535 official games in Europe. We break down Yakubu Aiyegbeni's total career goals and assists according to the clubs he played in.





Coventry City












Al-Rayyan SC




Guangzhou City




Blackburn Rovers




Leicester City
















Hapoel Kfar Saba




Maccabi Haifa








Yakubu Aiyegbeni's net worth

The former Everton and Middlesbrough striker is one of the wealthiest players of his generation. According to sources, he has a net worth of $24 million, ranking among the top 10 richest Nigerian footballers.

Is Yakubu Aiyegbeni still alive?

The Yak is alive and living with his family. So, where is Yakubu now? The ex-Super Eagles star became a football agent after retiring. He has a company, Wilbury Sports Management, which helps aspiring players and coaches.

What happened to Yakubu Aiyegbeni?

At 35 years of age, the legendary forward announced his retirement from football in November 2017 after staying months without a club.

Final word

Yakubu Aiyegbeni won the hearts of many fans with his football skills and goalscoring abilities. Despite missing the World Cup goal against South Korea, he remains a true legend and an inspiration to upcoming strikers.

READ MORE: Unai Emery's teams coached, achievements and coaching career path

Sports Brief recently featured the history of Spanish football manager Unai Emery. The talented tactician has led some of the best clubs in Europe and is currently managing Aston Villa in the Premier League. Unai was a football player before transitioning into coaching after retiring in 2004.

Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.