Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen’s humble beginnings from Olusosun , the Lagos area famed for its dumpsite , to the ambience of one of Europe ’s oldest cities , Naples , famed for its wealth of historical monuments , is truly one of football’ s Cinderella tales, reports ’ TOSIN OLUWALOWO
On Friday , Napoli officially announced the signing of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen from Ligue 1 side Lille on a five- year deal worth € 81 million plus add- ons .
Aside from the mega- money move making Osimhen the most expensive African footballer ever , the forward , according to close sources, will earn a whopping € 4 . 5 million annually – the highest – ever by a Nigerian footballer – as salary at the Italian giants.
The 21 -year – old , now regarded as one of the hottest youngsters in global football – after a phenomenal rise in two seasons at modest Belgian side Charleroi and Lille – never had the best of beginnings while growing up .
Living in one of the many makeshift houses around the Olusosun dumpsite in Lagos, Osimhen and his family had a hellish time trying to cope with the environmental and health hazards posed by the dumpsite, noted for its emission of thick smokes, foul smell, and routine fire outbreaks .
The 100- acre Olusosun landfill , which receives up to 10, 000 tons of rubbish each day , is regarded as one of the largest dumpsites in Africa . And it’ s also a hideout for criminals , who hide dangerous weapons and hard drugs inside the massive dumpsite .
Living under these terrible conditions posed enough headache for the footballer’ s family , but at just six , Osimhen , last child among seven siblings , lost his mother, while his father lost his job , leaving him and his siblings in the dark world of uncertainty.
Insecurity , poverty , and the perennial fear of eviction by the Lagos State Government stared his family in the face .
The setback, however, didn ’t deter the teenager, who made lemonade from the lemons life threw at him : he opted to hawk sachet water, popularly known as ‘ pure water,’ on the streets of Lagos.
“I come from a place where so many dreams have died but I ’m the kind of person who doesn ’t give up irrespective of my situation. So , I was forced to go out and get myself a life ,” Osimhen said .
“In Lagos , they sell water ( bottle or sachet ) which is the easiest , but the hardest because you have to run and give somebody the water and collect money .”
Running on the ever -busy Lagos roads chasing passengers was the perfect training for Osimhen , who turns 22 in December , on the way to stardom. And he combined this with street football .
But while hawking put food on the family ’s table, street football didn’t , then.
The skinny up – and- coming footballer eventually caught the attention of the country ’ s U – 17 coaches and scouts, who selected him for the 2015 U -17 World Cup in Chile , but not without a story