Friday, August 7, 2020 4:30 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Here are 47 astonishing facts about Victor Osimhen, the 21 year-old Nigerian striker who joined Italian Serie A club, S.S.C. Napoli, on 31 July 2020 on a club-record fee of €71.2 million, thus making him the most expensive Nigerian player ever.
1. His full name is Victor James Osimhen.
2. His surname, Osimhen, means God is good in his native Esan dialect.
3. He hails from Esan South-East local Gov’t Area of Edo State.
4. He is aged 21, since he was born on 29 December 1998 in Lagos.
5. He was born into a poor family in Lagos who had barely enough to eat.
6. He is the last of six children.
7. His father is Elder Patrick Osimhen, his only surviving parent.
8. His father was once his manager until 2015 when he handed him over to French agent, Oliver Noah of Noga Sports Management.
9. But initially his father wanted him to become a medical doctor.
10. His mother permitted him to play football and gave him the support he needed.
11. His mother used to sell satchet water under the scorching sun on the streets of Lagos.
12. He hawked satchet water, fizzy drinks and other household commodities on a busy road junction and on the streets of Lagos after school to raise funds for his education and survival of his family.
13. He grew up at Olusosun area of Lagos, one of the largest dumpsites in Africa.
14. Olusosun Primary school, where he had his elementary education, served as the football meeting point for all pupils and youngsters in the community.
15. Every evening he and a lot of boys used to watch his brother, who was a local football star, play football on that pitch.
16. His brother, Andrew, abandoned his education in order to earn money to take care of Osimhen and his other siblings.
17. Aside hawking, Victor also learnt to play football barefoot on the streets of Lagos with the support of his brother.
18. He was so passionate about Chelsea FC, which he loved watching at viewing centres.
19. Seeing that he (Victor) was more talented, his brother Andrew abandoned the game of football to concentrate on his newspaper business (He sold newspapers in traffic at Ojota, in Lagos).
20. He also jettisoned the idea of furthering his education to raise money to help Victor, who he believed would be a superstar.
21. Victor started his footballing career with Ultimate Strikers Academy based in Lagos, Nigeria.
22. He was discovered by Nigeria’s ex-international, Shira Ayila, elder brother of ex International, Yusuf Ayila, who introduced him to Emmanuel Amuneke, then coach of the country’s Under-17 national team, Golden Eaglets.
23. He was instrumental in helping the team qualify for the 2015 under-17 World Cup, which held in Chile.
24. He scored two great goals in his debut for his national team at the competition, thus winning millions of hearts including European scouts across the globe.
25. He also bagged the highest goal scorer award after scoring 10 goals, winning the Golden Boot and also the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Silver Ball.
26. After the World Cup, big clubs in Europe like Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur jostled for his services.
27. Surprisingly, he rejected those clubs and went for a lesser club that gave him the biggest offer.
28. Moments after he was named the 2015 African Youth Player of the Year, he announced that he would be pursuing his professional football career with German Bundesliga club, Wolfsburg
29. According to him, the club’s offer was a morale booster for him and his family.
30. He then signed a three-and- a- half year pre-contract deal till June 2020 with Wolfsburg.
31. He made his debut in the German top light in May 2017.
32. After playing for the club for four months, he sustained a shoulder injury which sidelined him and brought a premature end to his first season.
33. His nightmares continued after recovering from the shoulder injury as he fell sick.
34. That sickness made him miss pre-season training and 2018 Nigeria’s World Cup selection.
35. It took him about two seasons to come out of those nightmares.
36. In a bid to move on he attended summer trials with Belgian clubs Zulte Waregen and Club Brugge but was rejected by both clubs.
37. On 22 August, 2018 Belgian club, Charleroi accepted him on a season-long loan deal.
38. He made his debut for the club on 22 September, scoring his first goal as a professional with his back heel.
39. After the game, he told BBC Sport that he had found his “happiness again after such a long wait.”.
40. He had a successful season with the club, playing 36 games and scoring 20 goals.
41. After a great career in Belgium, he made an upward move by signing for Lille OSC.
42. Aside from soccer, he loves listening to contemporary R&B music and his favourite is R. Kelly’s I believe I can fly.
43. He once said scoring against Chelsea in the Champion’s League is one of his biggest achievements.
44. His favourite Nigerian musician is Olamide, whose song, Sitting on the throne, he loves most.
45. He once honoured his mother, whose demise was a big blow to him, by having her image on his profile on his Instagram account.
46. On 31 July 2020, he officially joined Serie A club, S.S.C. Napoli, for a club-record fee of €71.2 million potentially rising to €80 million.
47. This is what Emmanuel Amuneke, coach of Nigeria’s Under-17 national team, Golden Eaglets, once said about him: “If he continues to stay disciplined and grounded, I believe he can go on to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs and make a name for himself. The world has not seen anything yet. He is still only developing.”
Credit: Life Bogger, YallAfrica.
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