FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, December 22, 2019
Nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com
Belgium
ADIEU PHILIP OSONDU, ALIAS "ZANZA"!
Late Philip Osondu, alias "Zanza"

he death of Philip Osondu, is painful and certainly a big blow to the Nigerian soccer family.

As is customary, the tribute to him will reminisce on how yours sincerely saw his soccer career.

Philip Osondu, shot into limelight as a member of the second set of Nigeria's under-17 team, the "World golden Eaglets", that had the task of defending the world title won by the first group of Eaglets, at the 1985 maiden FIFA Under-17 World cup competition, in China.

He was a prominent member of this team. He attracted attention with his superior skills: deft touches, close and efficient ball control, sublime dribbling skills and overall superb ball vision!

In their first qualification match, African zone, they played a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ghana, in the first leg match, at the National stadium, Lagos. Nigerians fans were angry and demanded more from them. They expected them to follow in the illustrious footsteps of their predecessors.

In the return leg, the Golden Eaglets delivered, and, eventually, qualified for the second edition of the FIFA Under -17 World cup competition in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics-USSR - in 1987.

At the 1987 Under- 17 World cup competition, the Golden Eaglets followed indeed in the illustrious footsteps of their predecessors, by enthralling, enthusing, entertaining and of course generally exciting the world with their quintessential brand of offensive soccer! Of course, Philip Osondu, was a key member of this Golden Eaglet's soccer brand!

He thrilled all and sundry with his quintessential, sublime skills! He was the lynch pin of the Golden Eaglets' offensive forays. He impressed all and sundry! The Golden Eaglets almost successfully defended their hard won title of 1985, save for some questionable decisions by the arbiter in the final match against the hosts.

The Golden Eaglets, however, held their heads high notwithstanding the final loss on penalty shoot-out to the hosts, and the concomitant silver medal!

Philip Osondu, won the golden boot award as the highest scorer at the tournament, as well as the best player's award of the tournament!!!!!!

This reality launched his soccer career. He was instantly transformed from the local soccer player from Aba, Imo- state(" Nwa Aba" ), to a player known beyond the borders of Nigeria.

Anderlecht Football club of Belgium, paid for and got his services. He was quite successful in Belgium as a soccer player.

He played for Nigeria's Under-20 side, the "Flying Eagles", at the FIFA Under-20 World cup tournament, in Saudi- Arabia, in 1989. And was part of the team that got to the final of the same tournament; performing along the way the famed/famous "miracle of Damaan", in the quarter-finals, by miraculously eliminating the USSSR!

He will go down in history as one of the most talented youth players ever to have come out of Nigeria!!!!!!

May his gentle soul rest in peace. My sincere condolences to his family!

Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "EGYPT 2019" !!!!!

https://teespring.com/stores/super-eagles-of-nigeria

The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : nwokeji.cyril@gmail.com Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary

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