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The electrifying Victor Ikpeba began his career at the now defunct African Continental Bank F.C de Lagos, before representing the Nigerian U-17 team which competed in the 1989 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Scotland. His performance at this tournament convinced Belgian football scouts to recruit him from modest Belgian club RFC Liège. He quickly established himself as a clinical finisher after making 79 appearances and scoring 27 goals for the Belgian team.

In 1994, French club Monaco F.C, then coached by current Arsenal tactician Arsène Wenger, broke it. Victor Ikpeba experienced the most eventful period of his footballing career in Monaco, helping the French club to win the League title. He also received an invitation to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic football team in Nigeria. The team eventually won gold after beating Argentina in the final.

The icing on the cake for the Delta state-born footballer came in 1997 when he won the African Footballer of the Year award after a wonderful season with Monaco. He played a total of 169 games and scored 55 goals for the Monaco team. This enviable feat earned him the nickname “Prince of Monaco”.

After moving from Monaco to Borussia Dortmund in 1999, his career took a nose dive that eventually worsened in the 2000s after his young wife Atinuke died from breast cancer. Subsequent efforts to relaunch his career with Real Betis of Spain, Al-Ittihad of Libya and Charleroi F.C of Belgium did not bear much fruit, as he finally retired from active football in 2005.

It is relevant to note that Victor Ikpeba was an integral part of the Super Eagles squad from 1993 to 2000. He played a total of 30 games and scored 3 goals for the Nigerian Super Eagles in all competitions.

His worst failure came in the Africa Cup of Nations final co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana in 2000 when he scored in a penalty shoot-out against Cameroon, but believed the ball was failing. had not crossed the line. He held his head in disbelief and the referee and his assistant ruled it was not a goal. The television broadcast later showed that the entire ball crossed the line. Nigeria ultimately lost the match.

He was a member of the Super Eagles squad which competed in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia as well as the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups in the United States and Spain respectively. He is currently a sports analyst for the South African television Super Sports Channel.



Source by Clement Sadjere

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