As Victor Osimhen’s move to Serie A giants Napoli gets closer, his former coach at Ultimate Striker Academy in Nigeria, Chinedu Ogbenna, in this exclusive interview with Europa Calcio talks about the Super Eagles striker’s journey at the academy, his journey to Europe and how the move to Napoli will affect his career.
When did your first meeting with Victor Osimhen take place?
I know when Victor was born. We lived in the same building in Lagos, I witnessed his growth from child to boy.
When did he join the Ultimate Striker Academy?
His father was a very dear friend of mine. And so when Victor was eleven his father asked me to take him there. In any case, I often saw him playing football on the street, and already he showed good qualities. He arrived at Ultimate Striker Academy together with Sammy Olorunfemi they were already great friends since childhood and they were the two attackers of the team.
A few years later, Emmanuel Amuneke called him for the Under 17 World Cup in Chile . What was your reaction when he was invited?
I was clearly very happy. For the boy it was a very important step, which had followed up on all the excellent qualities he had shown with the Ultimate Striker Academy. From the day of his arrival he was always serious and determined in what he did, he wanted to improve more and more.
Then came Wolfsburg.
Yes, right after that World Cup Wolfsburg came to us with their scouts. And in the following months they watched Victor live. The final agreement was later made, and we agreed that Osimhen would stay with us for another year. Other clubs involved were Arsenal, Milan and Anderlecht, but Wolfsburg had moved first.
His experience in Germany was a shame because on one hand Victor was still very young, but on the other the team had changed coaches. This too was a factor that affected him. His time at Charleroi was much more positive.
Osimhen seems increasingly close to joining Napoli. What do you think of the move?
Italian football, especially at the beginning, is not easy for anyone, especially if you come from another league. In addition to the economic aspect, it will be an important test for him. But the most important thing is that he is a starter. As I said before, Victor always wants to improve .
Generally, what idea do you have of Naples?
We know the city has a very warm and passionate fan base, and there football is a very important aspect.
And what message do you have for Victor?
He has to stay focused, I’m sure his football path is going in the right direction. I love him very much.
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