Emulate Mane, Salah, Ikpeba admonishes Osimhen

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

Former Africa footballer of the year, Victor Ikpeba has admonished Napoli centre-forward Victor Osimhen to emulate the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane if he wants to succeed in his career.

Ikpeba, who is a sports analyst with Supersport said this recently during an interview on Comfort 95.1fm.

The soccer pundit adored the Prince of Monaco during his active days in France, recalling that despite his accolades, he was diligent and respectful to the senior players.

According to Ikpeba, players that followed this path including Italian Balotelli never ended well in their careers, calling on persons close to him to advise him properly.

He said, “I remember when I was a professional footballer many years ago I had my personality and character, I was very outspoken but I had respect for senior players.”

Ikpeba had earlier advised the player during the Super Eagles World Cup qualifier against Ghana in Abuja which led to a heated response from the youngster.

“He is still a young guy. I’ve said this before and I’m not changing. I don’t care what people think about me but this is what is on ground, you know when anything is on social media people will have to take sides,” he said.

The Delta-born soccer analyst who was part of Nigeria’s 1996 Olympic winning squad, rebuffed insinuations that alleged he has problems with Osimhen.

He claimed that Osimhen had been respectful while growing up but wondered at the sudden change of attitude after he arrived at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

”I honestly don’t have any problem with Victor (Osimhen). I’ve seen him before when he has not gone to Napoli, he used to be a decent young chap,” Ikpeba said.

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The soccer pundit started his career in the 80s with African Continental Bant FC before switching to Europe to play for RFC Liege in Belgium where he won the Belgian Cup.

He added, ”Football can be so unforgiving sometimes, look at the likes of Mario Ballotelli. A lot of Nigerian Footballers have had this same opportunity and lost it. Osimhen is at the right place at the right time so my advice is for him to calm down.”

”People have to manage stardom. The Victor Osimhen I saw when he played at Charleroi, Wolfsburg, Lille carried himself decently. Going to Napoli might have changed his mentality and that is why I am saying he has to calm down, he has not achieved anything yet and should emulate players like Mane and Salah,” Ikpeba advised.

Osimhen joined Napoli two seasons ago in a big-money move from Ligue 1 side Lille.

Since he made the switch to Napoli, the 23-year-old has found the back of the net 24 times in 51 Serie A matches coupled with 5 assists.

Last season in a match against Venezia at the Partenopei stadium, Osimhen was red carded in the 23rd minute by referee Gianluca Aureliano for violent conduct.

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