Minister moves to protect Osimhen after Napoli row

By Daily Sports Nigeria on September 29, 2023

Oliseh urges striker to quit Italian champions

Minister of Sports Development, John Enoh, says he is saddened by the recent event surrounding Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, after a video mocking the Nigerian surfaced on Napoli’s official TikTok handle.

The minister made this known in a statement on his official X handle on Thursday.

Osimhen, who was the club’s top scorer last season as the Parthenopeans won the Scudetto after three decades, became a subject of mockery after missing the penalty that denied Napoli a chance to win all three points against Bologna on Sunday.

The player also got involved in an argument with Napoli coach Rudi Garcia as he walked away to the bench after he was substituted a few minutes after the penalty miss.

Osimhen has since sent his apologies to the coach and his teammates over his action but on Tuesday, the official TikTok of the team, which had earlier posted a video referring to Osimhen as a coconut head, posted another video trolling the Nigerian for missing the penalty against Bologna.

The Nigerian’s agent Roberto Calenda also threatened to take legal action against Napoli for the disparaging video.

Osimhen has also pulled down all images related to Napoli from his Instagram page in what seemed to be a response to Napoli over the video and the striker was seen subbing his teammates while arriving at the team’s hotel ahead of their game against Udinese on Wednesday.

In the wake of the event, Enoh in a statement tagged ‘a rally for Victor Osimhen and all Nigerian athletes’ said he was saddened by the event.

“Over the past weekend, the news coming out of Napoli concerning Super Eagles player — Victor Osimhen saddened me greatly. The travails of Tobi Amusan have been no less so — the reason I made efforts to reach her directly last week.

“My office is trying to reach Victor Osimhen directly as well to understand first-hand the issues. We are committed to establishing the facts of the matter.”

He added, “Meanwhile, I am in touch with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, and the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Italy, Ambassador Mfawa Abam.

“Together, we are employing diplomatic avenues with Italy for a more proper approach to looking into the matter as it is.

“Under the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we are committed to ensuring our sportsmen and women are accorded the respect they deserve and are not exposed to any injustice.

“Upon assumption of office, I made it abundantly clear, in words and deeds, that the welfare of our athletes, be they home-based or international-based, would be our topmost priority as we create the environment that enables and ensures their continued success.”

Also, while reacting to Osimhen’s decision to delete pictures of himself  in a Napoli shirt on Instagram and demanding an apology from the club, former Eagles captain and coach, Sunday Oliseh, suggested Osimhen quit the Italian champions.

“Forever proud to be Nigerian,” Oliseh wrote on X.

“One must show personality, work hard and refuse to be intimidated. Let racists and ingrates talk. That’s why they are eternal losers who secretly wish they were created like you! Osimhen needs to leave Napoli as soon as yesterday.”

Source Punch Ng

Posted September 29, 2023


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