• Friday, February 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Osimhen’s Napoli eye Serie A glory 33years after Maradona

Victor Osimhen, Napoli FC’s lethal striker and his teammates are inches close to being crowned Serie A champions after their victory over Juventus on Sunday, April 23 which puts them 17 points clear at the top of the table.

With a goal victory over the old ladies, Napoli FC has taken another step towards Serie A title glory.

Thousands of joyous Napoli supporters came out to welcome the team early Monday as they returned from their victory over Juventus.

Many fans of the club were seen waving their banners and flags and singing and dancing as the team arrived at Naples-Capodichino Airport from Turin.

To be crowned champions for the first time since 1990 this weekend, Napoli will have to beat regional rivals Salernitana on Saturday and will need Internationale Milan to avoid a home defeat by Lazio on Sunday.

The last time Naples residents kissed the coveted Scudetto trophy was in 1990 when Diego Maradona led the Azure colour football army to victory.

After many years of abuse and suffering both on and off the football pitch the oppressed people of Naples could not contain their joy at having toppled the ruling class through the magical boots of Maradona.

According to goal.com, a sports media, “What Maradona achieved with Napoli was truly incredible. Before his arrival, a team from the southern mainland had never won the Scudetto.

Napoli themselves had narrowly avoided relegation in 1982-83 and 1983-84 finishing a point above the drop zone just weeks before he signed.”

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That year, Maradona was one of the leading Serie A goal scorers with 16 goals, one short of Roberto Baggio of Fiorentina, who scored 17 goals, and Marco van Basten of Milan who had 19 goals to his credit.

Osimhen is currently leading the Serie A goal chart with 21 goals, four goals better than Martinez Lautaro of Internationale with 15, and eight goals ahead of the third-placed Mbala Nzola of Spezia, and Ademola Lookman of Atalanta with 13 goals respectively.

Ikpe Ekong, a former Nigerian Super Eagles midfielder describes Osimhen’s feat in Napoli this year as exceptional.

“Osimhen’s case is like Maradona to the people of Naples. Maradona by his feat for the club doesn’t spend a dime any time he enters Naples; his bills were paid by the people.

Osimhen has paved the way for Nigerians and Africans by his achievements with the club,” he said.

With seven more matches to the end of the season, Osimhen and his Napoli teammates are set to celebrate a hard-earned achievement in the 2022/2023 league year.

Napoli has 78 points from 31 matches to top the table, 17 points above their closest rival Lazio with 61 points.

The Nigerian Super Eagles’ lanky striker began his professional football career in Germany at VfL Wolfsburg in 2017.

The Edo State–born footballer has proven beyond doubt that he is a complete box-office player that is worth his onus.

Paul Erikewe, the man who discovered Osimhen described him as a fighter who hates to lose.

“The boy doesn’t like to lose, even in his primary school days, he plays to win. He is a fighter in the field of play. Judging by his current form, he will go places,” he said.

Many Nigerian football pundits believe that Osimhen is the most in-form striker in Europe right now.

And this can be proved by the number of clubs seeking his signature for the coming season such as Manchester United, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea among others.

He is the goal-toast that all big clubs would want to have in their team,” he said.

Osimhen started his football career in Nigeria playing for the Ultimate Strikers Academy.

He has won the FIFA U17 World Cup 2015, FIFA U17 Golden Boot 2015, and FIFA U17 Silver Ball 2015. In Africa, he won the CAF Youth Player of the Year 2015, and AFCON 3rd Place 2019. In France, he won Prix Marc-Vivien Foé 2020, and Lille Player of the Season 2019.