in Lille, Victor Osimhen, the obstacle course of a young striker

Out of misery thanks to football, the co-top scorer in Ligue 1 is one of the revelations of the beginning of the season. He will take the Lille attack Wednesday night in the Champions League against Chelsea.

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Victor Osimhen celebrates his goal against Strasbourg on September 25, 2019.
Victor Osimhen celebrates his goal against Strasbourg on September 25, 2019. Denis Charlet / AFP

In French, his name means " God is good ". For a long time, Victor Osimhen, born in Lagos (Nigeria) almost twenty-one years ago (he will have them in December), had to question the relevance of a surname so far removed from his daily life.

The youngest of seven siblings, he grew up in Lagos, next to Olusosun, one of the largest landfills in the world. The food was rare. When there was. His mother worked tirelessly, selling bags of water to drivers stuck in the traffic jams of an overcrowded city. When young, Victor sometimes accompanied him, hung on his back.

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Today, the young Nigerian evolves far from this context. Having become a professional football player, aligned at the forefront of the Lille team's attack, he is crazy about the French courts, co-top scorer in Ligue 1 (six goals). Just as it had ignited, last season, the Belgian championship with the club of Charleroi.

Wednesday night, against Chelsea, for the second game of the group phase of the Champions League, the LOSC will still rely, for a large part, on his striker, involved in more than 70% of the achievements of the team since the beginning of this season.

A strong will

And to say that until September 21, 2018, Victor Osimhen had never found the way to the goal in the seniors! Because, if football was his passion very early and if he displayed early technical balloon skills, he had to be very pugnacious. An unshakable will that is the thread of his young career.

Selected for the under-17 CAN, he finished top scorer. It is 2015 and history is accelerating. Nigeria competes in the World Cup in this category and the teenager explodes the meters.

It all started after her mother's death, followed by her father's job loss, which led Andrew, her older brother, to abandon a fledgling career in football and put away crampons to sell newspapers. Victor, he continues to tread the grounds and at age 14, decides to focus on sport, the only passport in his eyes for a better life.

The story changes the day Emmanuel Amunike's eyes land on him. Amunike, a local legend, notably gave the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) to Nigeria by scoring two goals in the final. He is then especially the coach under 17 and looking for the best local talent to compose his team. Tested like hundreds of other kids, Osimhen convinced him in a few minutes – at least as much thanks to a fighting spirit at all times as his talent for the ball.


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