How Osimhen became King Of Africa from a Lagos street Hawker

CAF Awards


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Osimhen has been called as the New King of Africa once the Nigeria striker was forenamed as the Africa's
Footballer of the Year for 2023.

The Napoli striker whois 24-year-old picked up the prize at the Confederation of African
Football (Caf) honor on Monday night, seeing off contest from Egypt captain
Mohamed Salah and Morocco defender Achraf Hakimi.

In favor of Osimhen, who was nurtured on the sandy streets of Olusosun in Lagos, it is a dream come
true after going through the severe actuality of life as a child.

I have to be grateful to everybody who has helped me on this trip and all Africans who have assisted to
put me on the map regardless of my errors, Osimhen said.

Welcomed everyday withthe stink from a waste dump in his neighborhood, Osimhen says he had a flaming wish
to thrive against all chances.

Victor sold newspapers and bottles of water, explaining his condition as being in the ditch.

While a young boy who had to hawk in traffic nearly every day in order to stay alive the several
challenges my family and I were facing, becoming a treasure in Africa and world
football was a untamed dream, he said in a memo posted on X.

My football ride has been a rollercoaster of highs, tough lows and feelings.

The goals and joy of victories keep me going even when the critics, hate and pain of beats hit me
hard in the chest.

Subsequent to scoring26 goals to assist Napoli to a first Italian league title in 33 years, Osimhen turned
into the first Nigerian to win the Caf's men's award since ex Arsenal forward
Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

What Osimhen has done is incredible, former-Arsenal and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who won the
award in 2008, told Caf TV.

Goals scoring may be easy in England but doing so in Italy is not because they are defensively and
tactically tough.

With ex Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, himself a two-time Caf Footballer of the Year, relating
the ex Lille striker as Africa's new footballing royalty, there are now hopes
that he can prompt Nigeria on to a new age of success.

Lucky child

Osimhen's climb to the top has been a slow flame rather than the story of a one-season wonder.

Playing for Nigeria in their triumphant 2015 Under-17 World Cup was the spinning point in his career
which shows he was a child of luck.

His 10 goals in Chile brought the golden boot and saw him crowned Caf's Young Player of the Year - however
Osimhen nearly missed out on selection for the squad.

I had before now ignoredhim because he was paired with other players who played badly, Emmanuel
Amuneke, the coach of that side, told BBC Sport Africa.

However my backroom staff observed him and called my attention to him. I gave him another chance
and he proved himself to make the squad.

It was no shock thatOsimhen, after getting his Caf award in Morocco, commended his former coach for
assisting him realizes his dreams.

Unique thanks goes to Emmanuel Amuneke. Devoid of him, I don't think I would be standing here holding
one of the most important awards in world football, - he said.

There have certainly been a few knocks along the way.

His transfer to German club Wolfsburg in January 2017 roughly turned out to be a terrible for the
young prospect, who featured 16 times without scoring before a loan switch to
Charleroi in Belgium in 2018-19 offered a help.

Osimhen's status was improved at Lille to the point that Napoli were reported to have paid 96m USD(76.5m
pounds) - one of the uppermost fees ever for an African player - for his
services in July 2020.

Prior to his astral season which opened a historic Serie A title, he was required to miss out on
the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) because of Covid-19 and a facial injury which
still needs him to play dressed in a protective mask.

Besides, he had todeal with the death of both his mother and father in 2020.

The death of my dear parents in the way of this journey leaves a scar in my heart as they have forever
been my major driving force for success,- Osimhen joined in his post on X.

To my superb family,thanks for always having my back and loving me so much. I wouldn't have made it
this far without your help – he said.

A fresh age for African football?

Liverpool striker Salah and ex Reds team-made Sadio Mane both 31, had won the past four Caf
awards between them, and Osimhen's success in Marrakesh could sign the coming
of the next generation.

Associate Super EagleVictor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen), Ghana midfielder Mohammed Kudus (West Ham)
and Guinea striker Serhou Guirassy (Stuttgart) have all made impressions by now
this season.

In the meantime, Nigeria supporters trusts Osimhen's acknowledgment could provide the force for
the national side to dare again for the Afcon trophy, which the Nigeria last
lifted in 2013.

Nigeria failed to qualify for the finals in 2015 and 2017, finished third in 2019 and went out in
the last 16 in the 2021 edition in Cameroon.

This acknowledgment atthe highest level is a huge shot in the arm for Nigeria football, Abuja
Football Association chairman Adam Muktar Mohammed told AFP.

Obviously, there is plentyof talent in Nigeria. We only have to connect this talent to be a major force
in international football.

Drogba - whom Osimhenhas recognized as his idol growing up - believes Nigeria could surely be a
threat at the 2023 Afcon, which kicks off in Ivory Coast next month.

Nigeria has been drawntogether with the hosts, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in Group A at the
finals.

We are waiting for youin January, - Drogba added in his congratulatory message to Osimhen.

Must Osimhen get hishands on the Nations Cup Crown in Abidjan on 11 February, the praise he has
received in football-mad Nigeria since his crowning on Monday night will be pressed
to new levels.