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|Victor Osimhen: Nigeria's Record-equaling U-17 World Cup Wonder-kid. by donshaddow(m): 11:11am On Nov 09, 2015|
It was already clear following his hat-trick
against Australia that there was only ever
going to be one outstanding candidate for
both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot
at the U-17 World Cup in Chile. Nigeria’s
Victor Osimhen has all the makings of a true
gem; unrefined in many ways, but already
his gleam is undeniable. Might he be that
precious kind of once-in-a-generation
It could all have been so different. Nigeria’s
outing at the Caf U-17 Championships in
Niger in February ended in the disappointment of a fourth-place finish, just
enough to qualify for the global
tournament. In spite of this, Osimhen
topped the scoring chart, hitting four, and
identified himself as an untouchable talent
as the team underwent an exhaustive
Only five regulars from that qualifying
tournament started in the opening U-17
World Cup game against the USA in Vina del
Mar, but impressively, the 16-year-old has
maintained his level of performance and
arguably bettered it. His selfless work ethic,
persistence and physicality are entirely in
keeping with the style of Chelsea
legend Didier Drogba, whom he idolises.
More importantly, they put him at the
service of a team that, at times, look utterly
dependent on his qualities.
The gangly striker, built like a middle-
distance runner, is deceptively quick and
possesses a tremendous leap. The quality of
his off-the-ball runs, as well as the sheer
variety of his finishes, make him a handful
Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Chelsea,
Juventus, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich
have all sent scouts to Chile to watch the
U-17 World Cup. They are likely to be
returning to their respective clubs with only
one name on their lips.
From penalties to headers, scuffed efforts
to elegant curlers, Osimhen’s potential is
infinite. The Ultimate Strikers Academy
prodigy has scored in every game so far in
Chile, and another strike against Mali in the
final would give him the record outright as
the highest-ever goalscorer in an U-17
World Cup tournament.
So far, he has found the net nine times for
Emmanuel Amunike’s charges—including a
hat-trick in the 6-0 Last-16 demolition of
Australia—and one more goal would take
him ahead of Florent Sinama Pongolle and
Souleymane Coulibaly in the record books.
The former scored nine for France during
the 2001 edition of the tournament, while
the latter matched that tally for the Cote
d’Ivoire a decade later.
It is amazing just how far the beautiful
game has brought Osimhen.
The last in a family of six, the striker
revealed in a chat with the Caf website that
he sold wares at the roadside to contribute
to the family income before finding
football. This reality of standing in the
middle of traffic to sell products is a lot
more perilous and tasking than many
imagine; aside from the danger of
oncoming traffic, the hawkers often have to
sprint in bursts to catch up with speeding
cars in order to receive payment for their
For one so young, there is also the danger
of losing what earnings you have managed
to bullies or pickpockets. Osimhen must
have learnt to stand up for himself and be
aware of his surroundings, traits which
stand a forward in excellent stead against
physical, aggressive defenders.
His performances may be earning rave
reviews, but he is keeping a calm head
through it all. “My priority is not to be the
top scorer at this Fifa U-17 World Cup.
When Nigeria won the tournament in 2013,
the top scorer was not from Nigeria,” he
He is right, of course. Valmir Berisha’s
seven goals were unmatched in the UAE,
but the Golden Boot went to Kelechi
Iheanacho, who is now making a name for
himself at Manchester City.
He may be focusing on the title, but
Osimhen looks a safe bet to sweep both
individual awards, and will hope that, just
like his compatriot, he is making a splash in
Europe within two years.
Cc: Semid4lyfe, Honeric01.
Now all time goal score in FIFA U17 tournament 10 goals.
Scored in all matches featured.
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