What you need to know about Victor Ikpeba, man set to grace Kenya’s SOYA awards

By Robert Abong'o: Tuesday, January 21st 2020 at 10:56 GMT +3 | Sports
Former Africa player of the year Victor Ikpeba [COURTESY]

Former Africa player of the year Victor Ikpeba will be the chief guest in this year’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Gala set for Mombasa Sports Club on Friday, January 24. 

The former Nigeria Super Eagles star, who was crowned Africa’s finest in 1997, is expected to be in Mombasa to hold a series of clinics with the local football sides before attending the gala on Friday night.

“I’m so excited to be returning to Kenya after many years and it’s a great honour to be invited as the chief guest of a sports awards gala in a county that has rich sporting talent like Kenya,” said Ikpeba.

He added: “I have been to Kenya twice, first when we played Harambee Stars in a World Cup qualifier immediately after we won the 1996 Olympics gold medal in Atlanta Georgia and they frustrated us, holding us to a 1-1 draw," remembered Ikpeba.

"The second time I came in quietly for an Olympic promo in 2012. This time, I will have more time to see the beauty of the country and mingle with some of the world beaters.”

WHO IS VICTOR IKPEBA

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chief guest in this year’s Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) Gala set for Mombasa Sports Club on Friday, January 2 [COURTESY]

Victor Nosa Ikpeba was born on June 12, 1973 in Nigeria, Benin City.

He played as a striker for his country, making 31 appearances and scoring seven goals.

Ikpeba’s talent was realized at the early age, as Belgian club RFC Liege snapped him up during the FIFA under-17 World Championship in 1989.

He moved to Monaco after scoring 17 goals at the age of 20. Caoached by ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at the time, Ikpeba slowly started developing into a fine footballer, scoring 13 goals, contributing massively to the club’s league triumph.

He finished second on the scoring charts in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup.

He was named African Footballer of the Year in 1997.

He moved to Borussia Dortmund on the eve of the 21st century, joining compatriot Sunday oliseh. However, his time at Dortmund was marred with inconsistency. He scored only two goals in his first season for the Bundesliga club. Reports of his fallout with coach Matthias Sammer emerged, consequently seeing him move to Spanish outfit Real Betis on a season-long loan. He made only three appearances for them.

In 2002, he signed for Libyan side Al-Ittihad but failed to see his contract out, quitting the team over financial differences.  

He returned to Belgium after nearly a year off the pitch, signing for Charleroi. He scored 5 goals in 15 appearances for the club.

Before retiring from football, Ikpeba had short spells with Qatari-based side Al-Sadd.

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