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Past Nigerian Stars: Victor Ikpeba

June 13, 2018

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Past Nigerian Stars: Victor Ikpeba

Victor Nosa Ikpeba born on 12th June 1973 is a former Nigerian footballer who played as a forward for both club and country. He played at the FIFA World Cups in 1994 and 1998. Ikpeba helped win the 1994 African Nations Cup and the Olympic football gold medal in 1996.

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Ikpeba now lives in Monaco

 with his three children and was married to late Atinuke who died in May 2000 at the age of 26, after losing her battle with breast cancer.

CAREER

Ikpeba was discovered by Belgian club RFC Liégeois during the 1989 FIFA U-17 World Championship and moved to play in Belgium together with teammate Sunday Oliseh. At the age of 20, after scoring 17 goals in 1992–93. Ikpeba was bought by French side AS Monaco (1993 – 1999) then coached by Arsène Wenger, where he gradually became a success, albeit with a tough start.

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His performances in Monaco earned him the African Footballer of the Year award in 1997.

Two successful seasons followed. While at Monaco, Ikpeba nearly signed for Italian club Reggina, but his wife, unwilling to give up life in France, which changed his mind totally. Ikpeba played in Jean Tigana‘s talented Monaco side which famously put Manchester United out of the Champions League in 1998 on away goals after a 1–1 draw at Old Trafford.

Ikpeba teamed up with Sunday Oliseh at Borussia Dortmund(1999 – 2002), for a transfer fee of £4.8m. Ikpeba scored only two goals in his first season in the Bundesliga and barely played in his second, after falling out with the coach Matthias Sammer.

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Looking for a move abroad, Ikpeba turned down Southampton, to join Real Betis (2001 -2002) on a season-long loan. Things went further downhill for the player in Spain as he was criticised for being overweight by the coach, after making just one appearance for the club. He didn’t feature for Betis again up until the last two games of the season.

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Ikpeba then signed a season-long contract with Libyan Al-Ittihad, but only played out half of his contract with the club, as he quit the team over financial disagreements. After leaving Libya and spending almost a year without a club, Ikpeba returned to Belgium, where he joined his former Liège coach at Charleroi (2004). After helping the club to avoid relegation, Ikpeba came very close to signing with the German Bundesliga side SC Freiburg, but the deal fell through when it was revealed that the player had no EU passport.

Ikpeba then had a short spell at Al-Sadd (2005 – 2007) in Qatar, before retiring from professional football.

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His Honours Include:

Club

RFC Liège
Monaco
Al-Ittihad

International

Nigeria

Individual

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