By Preye Campbell
A few days ago, a video clip emerged on Twitter about Victor Osimhen’s visit to Lagos. Of course, things were already moving so fast and the switch to Napoli was expected to be a formality, given that the player had agreed personal terms with the Partenopei outfit.
In the video, I saw Osimhen addressing a group of young footballer in the playing field. They (the ballers) were all fixed on him, I’m sure they wouldn’t tell if a fly passed by. Of course, Osimhen is the most talked about Nigerian footballer in the world presently so it wasn’t that hard for him to gain the rapt attention from those youngsters. But beyond that is the story of a boy who rose from hawking bottled water on the streets of Olusosun, Lagos to sealing a move that has now made him the most expensive African footballer of all time.
It’s like a Nollywood story isn’t it? It’s almost like your typical grass-to-grace story. But when you let the story- his story- simmer through you, you can’t help but marvel at the true meaning of success.
Of course, we cannot quickly forget Osimhen’s footballing story. The 21-year-old announced himself on the world stage with a series of dazzling performances at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. His exploits were enough for him to scoop the title and also rack up individual accolades in the Golden Boot for the highest goal scorer at he tournament (he scored in every game at the tournament) and the Silver Ball for the second best player at the tournament.
That was enough to make him the pique of interests among top tier clubs in Europe and he soon made the switch to German side, VFL Wolfsburg. His time in Germany was marred by niggling injuries and as such, he made only 16 appearances for the Bundesliga side and registered no goal.
He was then loaned out to Belgian side, Sporting Charleroinand we can as well said that the move was a catalyst for what we see today? 19 goals in his first season at Charleroi earned him a permanent stay in Belgium.
After French side, Lille sold Ivory Coast star Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal for a record € 75 million fee for an African player, they turned their attention to the transfer market, searching for a dazzling left winger to bolster their attacking quality. In Osimhen, they found a decent fee for a decent player and whether he could replace Pepe wasn’t really something of surety.
One season later and they witnessed a player who registered 18 goals in all competitions as well as scooping the club’s Player of the Season award. Another talented African.
That was enough for Napoli to fork out a fee that could rise to $96 million (81.3 million euros), toppling Pepe’s fee.
Now, we continue to witness what is a new exciting chapter in the life of the boy who has moved from Lagos to Naples.