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My eyes have seen Victor Osimhen in all his glory, hallelujah hallelujah!

The Nigerian striker scored his 14th Serie A goal in front of a packed Napoli crowd as the Tifosi extended their league on the table.

NAPLES – On the day that the Lord shall come, we shall behold his glory and we shall sing, hallelujah, hallelujah in praise. Tonight, I beheld the physical manifestation of that biblical experience. I saw Victor Osimhen in his glory, and my hearts sings, hallelujah!

What a performance, what a goal, such confidence and aplomb with which this young Nigerian brother caresses the ball and strikes it into goalposts that it leaves defenders and goalkeepers afraid of facing him.

Inside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Napoli, I beheld the glory of Osimhen in all its wonder. I saw the crowd call his name out from the stands before the game, I watched him respond to them with a wave of appreciation, I watched him warm up, I saw his shots trouble his own goalkeeper, and I knew that no weapon fashioned against him in the form of a goalkeeper could stop his shot on a good day.

And when the game began, he took his time to worm into the encounter. But when he did, it was fire. Napoli know who to call upon to deliver the goods, always delivers, Victor always answers the call.

Kvicha Kvaratskhelia delivered a cross into the box that beat three defenders as Osimhen rose up to meet it with his chest. He brought the ball to his thigh and without a moment to waste, smashed the piece of round leather past a hapless Rui Patricio in the roof of the Roma goal.

Our fathers told stories of how the mythical Thunder Balogun struck balls through goalkeepers in a fairy tale world long ago, I dare say that Patricio would have suffered the fate of those goalkeepers if he had gotten in the way of Osimhen’s thunderbolt.

Inside the net, as we say in Naija. Osimhen had put the Neapolitans ahead. The ultras and everyone inside the stadium screamed out in joy. They were witnessing another chapter of the glory. For me, it was a first time. It is a different experience to watch Osimhen on TV. To witness the glory in person is incredible.

In Osimhen, like Gabriel Okara wrote, I see a panther always ready to pounce. He was always at the necks of the defenders, kept them busy throughout the game. The only respite they had was when he fell on the floor having taken a bad tackle to his ankle. And as he got ready to return after treatment, Mourinho said some words to him on the sideline. It must be something truly remarkable to be able to pat in appreciation the player who’s doing your team dirty, from the Special One to another just as special.

The second half was a bit more difficult as Osimhen suffered more frustrating tackles on his ankle and he would be handed a yellow card by referee Daniele Orsato for his own tackle. Roma equalized in the 75thminute through substitute Stephan el Shaarawy as Osimhen was also taken off by Luciano Spalletti. The Nigerian had taken enough tackles that would have left weaker men stretcher-bound.

Victor had done his part. It was left to substitute Giovanni Simeone to win the game for the Tifosi with a sumptuous strike just inside the box to make it 2-1. On the sidelines Osimhen screamed at his colleagues to stay alert and defend the lead. Even when he was out of the game, he could not stay out of it.

The Neapolitans held on for another famous victory against one of their toughest rivals in this Derby del Sole. What Osimhen started, Simeone finished. Napoli’s title run stayed on course. 53 points after 20 matches and 13 points clear of second-placed Inter. The Scudetto surely has Napoli written on it this year. It has been 33 years of waiting.

I am glad to have witnessed the glory of Osimhen, a proud son of Nigeria.



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