Whatever happens to the Golden Eaglets in their match with the Brazilian U-17 team on Sunday, there is one name that has already made a mark on the watching public that includes managers, agents, and fans. And that player is Victor Osimhen.
Osimhen is not only tall, he stands tall with his exploits as his three-goal salvo against Australia on Thursday morning showed that once again, Nigeria may have unearthed another gem, following in the footsteps of Isaac Success and Kelechi Iheanacho, of whom great things are now been expected.
But amidst all the enthusiasm, there are the fleeting doubts that his career could end up like that of a former Golden Eaglets forward, Macauley Chrisantus, who was lauded for almost these same reasons in 2007.
Chrisantus won the Golden Ball at the 2007 edition of the U-17 World Cup, a tournament which also featured the likes of Toni Kroos of Germany, Emmanuel Riviere of France and Victor Moses, who represented England at that time.
Kroos has since gone on to win the World Cup, Riviere is at Newcastle, while Moses has won the Nations Cup and the Europa League and been to the World Cup with Nigeria. But the highest Chrisantus has gotten to the hype he set in 2007 is when his name is mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Kroos, who was named the MVP in 2007.
So the palpable fears about Osimhen’s career progress are definitely justified.
With seven goals in four matches, Osimhen is already the tournament’s top scorer – by a mile, on the same number of goals that Chrisantus scored in 2007, but what really happened that Chrisantus did not fulfill his supposed potential?
Bad career decision
The best decision that any junior player has made since Nigeria started winning the cadet World Cup was Nwankwo Kanu’s decision to join Ajax Amsterdam. After spending two seasons with the Dutch, we all know what he went on to achieve.
Immediately after the triumph in 2007, Chrisantus chose Hamburg SV ahead of Udinese – the Italian club is known for unearthing and nurturing good players from Africa and South America. Ghana’s Kwadwo Aamoah and Chile’s Alexis Sanchez are two examples of how they do their business.
He put money before progression and even though Udinese were keen and promised to pay him about 750,000Euros, he chose the 1.5million Euros that Hamburg promised but with the caveat that the sum would be paid only after making it into the club’s first team – which never happened.
Novice management team
Most of the better players in the world are not where they are just on account of their skills or versatility – they are guided by agents and managers that know more than they do.
In Nigeria, buddies handle the affairs of their friends which is exactly the cliché of the blind leading the blind – there is only one possible destination – the ditch.
So Osimhen will be advised to seek good advice, good management team and to place career progression over short term gains. In the end, he will reap the great rewards of making these wise decisions now!