Victor Osimhen’s Football Journey: from the Landfill to Italian Serie A2 min read
Victor Osimhen‘s ride begins in the streets of Olusosun, a neighborhood north of Lagos, Nigeria, near the largest landfill in the country. It is in that fetid place that Victor Osimhen finds his first football shoes, recovered among the piled up garbage. Playing soccer is the only way to stay away from the risks you run in those parts of the world when you are poor.
But then the tragic death of his mother, when Victor Osimhen is only 6 years old, makes him grow up fast, very fast. He immediately begins to help the family – he is the last of seven brothers – by selling water at traffic lights. “It was the only way I could eat,” he said once to France Football magazine.
Victor Osimhen never leaves the ball, and, in dead moments, he also plays in those intersections: it is his dream to become an important players one day. “Having a dream pushed me to go on even when the situation was critical. My sisters have done so much for me and every time I was about to give up, I thought about them. I couldn’t give up, for them, for my mother…” Victor Osimhen stated once.
One day Victor Osimhen was noticed by his current agent’s assistant who took him to the Strikers Academy, an important football school in Lagos. A few years later the youth selections did not let him slip away: Victor Osimhen joined the U17 team, with which he also won a U17 World Cup scoring 10 goals and winning the title of top scorer. The eyes of the European clubs inevitably looked at him and his skills.
Wolfsburg is the one to win, but first a shoulder injury, then malaria contracted on one of his trips to Nigeria, slowed his rise. So, Victor Osimhen starts again from Belgium: he goes on a retreat with the Bruges, but the club doesn’t believe in him at all, turning him over to the Charleroi on loan with the right of buying him back. This option is exercised with joy by the small Belgian club, since the Nigerian scores 20 goals, earning the call of the Lille, which pays Euro 12 million for Victor Osimhen.
But nothing compared to the almost Euro 70 million paid by Napoli this summer. For many a gamble, not for Rino Gattuso, who followed him for months and “fought” to get him. Mom will surely be proud.