Osimhen at the 2015 U-17 AFCON: A throwback
Comments made by Cameroon striker Dorinel Yondjo has inspired a throwback to how Victor Osimhen performed at the 2015 U-17 AFCON in Niger Republic.
Young Yondjo who is expected to lead Cameroon`s attack at the 2023 U-17 AFCON wants to finish as top-scorer with a better haul than the four goals Osimhen scored to take the award in 2015.
OSIMHEN AT THE 2015 U-17 AFCON
A flip through the History book shows little known Victor Osimhen on Nigeria`s 21-man to the 2015 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations tournament.
Aged 16, Osimhen then of Ultimate strikers was the top marksman in Coach Emmanuel Amuneke tutored Golden Eaglets team.
Just like every youngster playing at a first ever international competition, Young Osimhen must have arrived in Niger Republic determined to strike his name into global recognition.
The Golden Eaglets were drawn in group A alongside Guinea, Zambia and hosts Niger Republic.
It took Osimhen 17-minutes of the opening game on February 15, 2015 to make his mark. Young Osimhen scored the first goal of the 2015 U-17 AFCON vs Niger Republic at the Stade General Seyni Kountche in Niamey.
Kelechi Nwakali scored the second goal in the 28th minute as Nigeria won 0-2.
In Nigeria`s second game a 1-1 draw vs Guinea, it was Nwakali who scored a late penalty to force a share of the spoils.
The draw meant Nigeria must at least avoid defeat vs Zambia in the last group game to reach the semi-final and most importantly take one of four available FIFA U-17 World Cup slots.
On February 21, 2015 at the Stade Municipal, Niamey the Napoli hit-man famously bagged a brace plus a third goal of the tournament by skipper Nwakali as Nigeria defeated Zambia 3-1, Leicester City forward Patson Daka scored the opponents goal in that game.
That win took Nigeria to the semi-finals and with assurance of a spot at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
South Africa did stop the Golden Eaglets march towards the title with a 1-0 semi-final win while Guinea made sure there was no podium finish for Nigeria when they defeated Nigeria 3-1 in the 3rd place play-off.
However, Victor Osimhen scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the 3rd place game to take the highest goal scorer award.
That feat laid foundation for Osimhen to take the World by storm as Nigeria won a record 5th FIFA U-17 World Cup title in Chile later that year .
Victor Osimhen scored 10-goals to enter the history books for most goals in a single FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament a feat Cameroonian youngster Dorinel Yondjo wants to replicate in 2023.
WHAT DORINEL YONDJO SAID
“Coming to this competition, to tell you the truth, I did some research to know the very recent top scorers of this tournament. I realized that the best had never exceeded four goals and I will try to work to break this record,” the striker said, adding that he is inspired by Osimhen’s story and keeps tabs of his club and country performances.
“I have followed the story of Victor (Osimhen). After shining with Nigeria during the 2015 U17 AFCON and the FIFA World Cup, he signed for Wolfsburg in Germany and my dream is also to be able to sign for a big club after this competition,” he said.
A ROLE MODEL TO MANY
Not just Dorinel Yondjo, Osimhen remains a role model to many youngsters who seek to hit limelight at age-grade tournaments like the U-17 AFCON.
They find inspiration from his U-17 heroics through to his rise from Wolfsburg to current club Napoli where his goals in the 2022/2023 season has put the club on the verge of clinching the Italian Serie A title.