President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday conferred on Super Eagles and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen the National Award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Outgoing sports minister Sunday Dare and former Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick were also conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger and Order of the Federal Republic awards respectively.
Osimhen’s presidential recognition was in recognition of the 24-year-old’s contributions to the country’s football since his emergence into the international scene during his U-17 days.
Osimhen played a key role as the Golden Eaglets won the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile for a record fifth time, finishing as the tournament’s top scorer, winning the Golden Boot award along with the Silver Ball for his impressive performances.
His 10 goals in seven matches broke the long-standing record of nine goals in a single tournament previously jointly held by Frenchman Florent Sinama Pongolle and Ivorian Souleymane Coulibaly.
That feat also earned him the 2015 CAF Youth Player of The Year prize.
Osimhen would go on to make his debut for the senior national team in a 2–0 defeat against South Africa on 10 June 2017.
He missed out on Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup campaign after his inconsistent season at Wolfsburg. Following a successful start to his loan spell at Charleroi, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr for the November 2018 international break, starting their friendly win over Uganda.
Since making his debut for the Eagles in 2017, the Napoli striker has gone on to score 15 goals in 23 appearances for the three-time African champions.
His tally puts him in ninth position in the country’s all-time top goals scorers list, with the best goal-per-game ratio (0.68) of all players in the top 10.
Osimhen recently helped Napoli win the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years and is currently the league’s top scorer with 25 goals and 30 overall in all competitions.
Reacting to the honour, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mohammed Sanusi, said, “The football industry has been given ample recognition this time and we commend our father, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for this.
“The award to Osimhen means that even as a football player, you can be honoured by your country for exceptional service and also for the way you represent the country abroad.
“We are proud of Osimhen and what he has done and continues to do with Napoli SC in Italy and for the Super Eagles.”