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Gift Orban: The Rising Star of Nigeria taking Europe by storm

Published at :March 16, 2023 at 5:18 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : The Guardian Nigeria)

Rajarshi Shukla

The Gent attacker scored the fastest hat trick in the UEFA competition.

The narrative of Gift Orban's quick ascent to the verge of football glory is one of tenacity, fortitude, and perseverance.

The 20-year-old attacker has grabbed the football globe by storm, scoring goals for pleasure and gaining honours along the way after emerging from anonymity in Nigeria and Togo to the Belgian Pro League.

As he scored a hat-trick in only three minutes against Istanbul Basaksehir in the UEFA Conference League, the 20-year-old grabbed the show once more.

How it all started for the 20-year-old?

Gift's adventure with football began in Nigeria, where Gift Orban battled to establish himself.

He relocated to Togo in search of greater possibilities, fate stepped in. Here, he attracted the notice of famed Nigerian scout Ola Fowler, who had previously observed Orban at a Lome trials programme.

He was discovered by Norwegian scouts in Uyo, Nigeria, and Fowler requested him to appear on a programme there. Orban did not disappoint when he was invited to Norway for a trial after they were pleased.

Orban's outstanding achievements at Stabaek FC convinced the club's decision-makers despite early setbacks and visa concerns, and they extended him a long-term contract until the year 2026. The Bison FC academy graduate adjusted to life in Norway quickly and soon became a nightmare for Norwegian defenders.

Orban had little trouble finding the back of the net and finished with 16 goals to lead the Norwegian First Division in 2022, promoting Stabaek to the 2023 Eliteserien.

He subsequently became a phenomenon in Norwegian football by finishing the season with 19 goals across all competitions in 24 appearances.

Gent came knocking after knowing about his talent

KAA Gent of the Belgian Pro League were drawn to Orban's standout performances, and in January 2023, they acquired him on a long-term basis for €3.30 million. The cost was criticised as being excessively exorbitant, but Orban hushed the critics with his on-field performances.

In his first few games, he netted nine goals, including a breathtaking brace on his Pro League debut and a legendary four-goal haul against Zulte Waregem that made him the first member of the team to record four goals in a single Pro League game this decade.

The playing style of Orban

Orban is quick, vicious, and equally skilled with both feet. He plays seriously and with the understanding that the Belgian Pro League is a start towards something bigger. Orban has defied the difficulties and established himself in Norway and Belgium through effort, tenacity, and talent.

There is no question that he is a player to watch and that he has a promising career in front of him.


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