UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

Victor Osimhen: From street hawker to cult figure in Naples

Co-authoured by Akinlolu Akinola, Postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona resounded with triumphant chants of “Victor!” and “Osimhen!” as Napoli celebrated a 1-0 victory against Fiorentina on 7 May. The win came after securing the Serie A title three days earlier with a 1-1 draw against Udinese, marking Napoli’s first Scudetto in 33 years. Osimhen’s crucial equalizer in the title-deciding match and his consistent goal contributions throughout the season played a pivotal role in their historic triumph, earning him immense appreciation from the fans. These chants not only celebrated Napoli’s victory but also signified Osimhen’s rise to cult status in Naples, drawing parallels with the iconic Argentine, Diego Maradona.

Born in Olusosun, a poverty-stricken community near Lagos’ largest dumpsite, Osimhen faced numerous challenges as the youngest of six siblings. To supplement their meager income, his family sold bottled water in the bustling Lagos traffic. In a country where aspiring footballers often had limited opportunities, Osimhen owes a debt of gratitude to his brother Andrew, who worked as a newspaper vendor, shouldering the family’s financial burden and protecting Victor’s football dreams. Recognised by local scouts, Osimhen’s talent earned him a place at Nigeria’s renowned Ultimate Strikers Academy, leading to his selection for the U-17 National team.


Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email