Friday, 1st December 2023

A note to Victor Osimhen

By Tony Afejuku
21 July 2023   |   3:40 am
No good followers of Nigerian football will not be impressed with what our dear Mr. Victor Osimhen did wonderfully well in Italy’s Serie A this past football season.

[FILES] Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

No good followers of Nigerian football will not be impressed with what our dear Mr. Victor Osimhen did wonderfully well in Italy’s Serie A this past football season. The young chap really distinguished himself in the light blue colour of Napoli this last season when he garnered twenty-six goals in thirty-two games he played for the champions in all competitions including the European Champions’ League. His knack and instinct for goals which he scored with relative ease even in some difficult matches stood him out among the pack in Italy and Europe. He emerged as the goals’ champion in the Serie A. That was no mean feat from whichever and whatever angle you look at it.

Arguably the Italian league is the toughest in Europe and even in the whole world on account of the rugged and intense nature of the defensive play in Italy where voluminous goals are rare. Indeed, Italy’s rugged defensive play makes goal-scoring sparse and austere for attackers and strikers of all colours and brands. Victor Osimhen learnt this much in the previous two seasons when he struggled to study goal-scoring ropes and pattern of play in Italy.

All hail Mr. Victor Osimhen who led Napoli to Italy’s, that is, Serie A’s, diadem after more than three decades which could be likened to three centuries of football wilderness for Napoli. Not since the mercurial Diego Maradona of Argentina came to Napoli did the Napolitans taste Serie A success and victory. And Maradona did it twice for Napoli. This is one reason why I am sending this austere note to our dear Victor Osimhen. He should not let any temptation to persuade or cajole or compel or intimidate him to quit Napoli now. He should tarry a-while in Italy and in Napoli in order to bang in more goals that will or may help Napoli to kiss a second Serie A diadem. In this wise, he may end up matching the marauding Maradona’s fame and record in Italy. And with some luck that is luckily good on his side he may end up surpassing Maradona’s record by winning the European Champions’ League trophy with and for Napoli. I am not in any way trying to tell him to aim at matching or surpassing Maradona’s feat because Maradona and our golden boy don’t share or possess the same star and destiny. But who says he cannot be luckier than Maradona as our dear Victor the victorious has proved himself to be luckier and better so far than any Nigerian or any African or any black player before him to play the bounteous leather game in Italy of the rugged of the rugged stars and stars and super-stars of defensive lock-down and mid-field supreme geniuses? I stand to be corrected.

If Osimhen has, for instance, out-classed the Liberian George Weah and the Cameroonian Samuel Eto in Italy, he should look up to the sky further and train beautifully hard to improve his game in Italy for now and for the new football season that will soon start. He should not leave Napoli for anywhere even if he is offered all the monies that no bank anywhere can contain today. Our chap’s tomorrow is going to be far better and far brighter than his today. He must be wise enough to learn from the travails of the black Belgian Romelu Lukaku who was lured from Italy to return to Chelsea which he initially left in agonising circumstances.

He failed woefully in England – very unluckily for him – despite the dollar-full bags and bags he put in his bank. His football took a bad dive in Chelsea; and the once fabulous scorer of goals hardly could see or know the direction of any of Chelsea’s opponents’ goalposts. It was that bad for Lukaku whose value dropped significantly even when he returned to Inter Milan where he made real football hay earlier. On his Inter Milan return, he gradually picked up his tattered football pieces again; and started to get back to his goal-scoring attributes, instincts and elements. But his drop from his once great pinnacle and height cannot be said to have been ascending as all his followers and fans and club expected. But he is happy in Italy and in Inter Milan. He does not want to go back to England and to luckless Chelsea. He wants his loan spell in Inter Milan to be converted to a permanent deal. Chelsea’s new head coach Pochenttino wants him badly to make a return to the Blues. As I am writing this the news is that Lukaku is heading back to his erstwhile club that has fired un-countable head coaches. The black Belgian football mountain is unhappily unhappy about his current situation. But what can he do? Agreement is agreement!

The Lukaku lesson is (or should be) a significant one Mr. Victor Osimhen and his agent(s) and family members should learn from. He should not be rushed out or lured out of Napoli at least for now. Our boy, no, our chap, must resist his rushers and lurers. And here I must call upon the Nigerian Football Federation to do their duty to and for Osimhen and on behalf of us all. The NFF chairman – or is it president? – must step in and advise him accordingly in the interest of Nigerian football. I know what I know and what I am seeing in his football stars shining bright and bright now in Napoli. Of course, there should be no room for Napoli to exploit him as we impress it upon him to remain with his lucky club for now. The NFF and his agent(s) should and must see that this is so. If need be, the Super Eagles’ head coach should similarly be drafted to play a handsome role in the matter at hand.

I must, however, confess that I am not conversant intoto with the matter at hand, I mean with the nitty-gritty of players’ transfers and everything related to them. What I know – and which I am hammering on is that Mr. Victor Osimhen should not take a jolly or un-jolly ride out of Napoli now. And the star footballer and everyone connected with and to him must believe me. They better believe me.

And talking about Mr. Osimhen being a star footballer brings me to the next very significant aspect of this note. And here I will be very, very brief for strategic and tactical reasons. Our lad and chap is not yet a super-star or super-maestro. I must drum this into his brilliant football head. Let me insist on this and tell him the blunt truth. You are a star but not a super-star yet. If others flatter you, I will not, our dear top striker. One swallow does not make a summer. You are in Europe, so I expect you and your handlers to know precisely, accurately and cogently what I mean. Let your mouth not kill your super-star status before it starts and gallops you to the mountain-top of super-stars and super-maestros. Refrain, you must, from making unnecessary and un-guarded and un-guided political utterances – as you did recently. You dared to run down Pele, the one and only King of world football, the one and only player to win three world cups at a time when football leather was football leather; at a time when strikers and super-strikers of Pele’s super-quality from another planet were never protected. Pele, from a different football world, played in four world cups at a relatively young age and won three for and with Brazil – yet you said, annoyingly, that the one and only king and god of football is not the G.O.A.T. – that is, the Great Player of all Time. Get yourself and mouth out of the white-skinned politics. You are not right to play Napoli’s politics or help Napoli to play their Maradona politics. PELE is The G.O.A.T. The government of Brazil declared Pele in his super-momentous years a national treasure and debarred him from leaving Brazil for European or other football shores, if not his club exploits outside Brazil would have been unmatched and un-surpassed by any dead or living player. In fact, they were never surpassed. He singlehandedly brought Santos, a lowly Brazilian club, to national and international stardom. Let me say no more.

Now, the new head coach of PSG has said that he does not want Osimhen in PSG because our star-player, and Napoli’s, is not technically sound enough. That’s how it starts, the politics of bringing down a gifted player of our chap’s calibre. Our young man must shut up, put a lock on his mouth and utterances, henceforth. And a head coach of the Spaniard Enrique’s mannerism and anti-black etiquette and posture will kill his career before we know it if he does not heed my advice and warning.

This note is silent on crucial strategic and tactical details to help our golden boy advance his career. Too many cooks can kill the banga soup in my Niger Delta homestead and homeland. I say no more.

Afejuku can be reached via +2348055213059.