Gift Orban has hit the ground running in Belgium, instantly becoming a nightmare for defenders due to his sheer goal-getting ability.
While Victor Osimhen has been on fire for Napoli in the Serie A and in the Champions League this season, another Nigerian striker has completely emerged out of nowhere to take Europe by storm. He goes by the name………….Gift Orban.
The 20-year-old was relatively unknown before his transfer to Belgian side Gent in January, but his name is now on everyone’s lips.
In this article, FootballOrbit brings you what you should know about the latest goalscoring sensation in Europe at the moment.
Gift Emmanuel Orban was born on the 17th of July 2002 in Nigeria.
Due to the difficulties associated with being a professional footballer in Nigeria, he relocated to Togo in search of greener pastures. There, he learnt how to speak French.
Gift Orban’s football career
At a football trial in Lome, the capital of Togo, Orban caught the attention of a popular Nigerian scout, Ola Fowler.
In November 2021, Fowler invited the youngster to Nigeria to feature in a trial in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state — organised by super football agent Atta Aneke.
Atta Aneke is the agent of several established stars including Odion Ighalo, David Datro Fofana, Aaron Samuel and Chidera Ejuke.
At the trial, Orban impressed Torgeir Bjarmann and Thomas Finstad who are scouts of Norwegian second division club, Stabæk.
Stabæk invited Gift for a trial in Norway during the winter of 2022, to which he convinced them of his ability. But he was forced to return to Nigeria after his visa expired.
Not relenting, Stabæk came back for him, signing him on loan (with an option to buy) from Nigerian club Bison FC on the 18th of May 2022.
Gift Orban scored his first goals for his new club in cup matches against semi-professional teams Notodden and Gjøvik-Lyn (twice).
Thereafter, he established himself in the starting line up.
When Stabæk sold Oliver Valaker Edvardsen in July 2022, the club announced that they would spend the money to activate Orban’s buyout option.
Thus, the Nigerian signed a permanent 4-year contract tying him to Stabæk until the end of 2026.
Subsequently, he rewarded the club’s faith in him by becoming the joint-top scorer in the 2022 Norwegian First Division with 16 goals, alongside Bård Finne.
Alongside his 16 goals, Gift Orban also contributed 7 assists in just 22 games!!!
His exploits helped Stabæk secure promotion to the 2023 Eliteserien (Norwegian top flight).
Additionally, Orban was named as the Young Player of the Year in the First Division.
Expectedly, his performances attracted the attention of several clubs.
Gift Orban joins Gent
On the 31st of January 2023, Orban joined Belgian Pro League side Gent in a €3.3m deal.
“We are delighted to welcome a promising talent. “We were able to bring him to our club after tough negotiations.”
“Gift is a flexible forward who caught our attention during his debut season in Norway. “He has a real eye for goals and combines his torment instinct with good bipedal technique.
“We look forward to seeing him develop here. He will have the necessary patience and time to adapt to our competition.”Gent chief scout Samuel Cardenas on Gift Orban
Orban immediately hit the ground running in Belgium and instantly became a nightmare for defenders due to his sheer hunger, desire, strength, pace and goal-getting ability.
On the 11th of February, he scored two goals on his Pro League debut in a 3-3 draw with Westerlo.
On March 12, the Nigerian youngster incredibly score FOUR goals in a 6-2 away win over Zulte Waregem! This made him the first player to do so for Gent since 1958.
Currently, he has notched 7 goals and has 1 assist in just 6 games in the Jupiler Pro League in 2022/23.
He has equally transferred his poaching skills to the continental stage.
He scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 away victory over Turkish side, İstanbul Başakşehir, in the UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 on the 15th of March 2023.
Earlier, the striker had scored his club’s only goal in the first leg (1-1), and his hattrick in the return match paved the way for Gent to reach the quarterfinal 5-2 on aggregate.
Astonishingly, he scored his hat-trick in just 3 minutes and 25 seconds (was on target in the 31st, 32nd and 34 minutes).
As a result, Orban set a new record for the fastest hat-trick in UEFA club competitions, breaking the previous record of 6 minutes and 12 seconds held by Mohammed Salah in the Champions League.
The Egyptian forward scored three goals in 6 minutes in Liverpool’s 7-1 win over Rangers during a Champions League group stage match in October 2022.
Furthermore, Patson Daka holds the record for the fastest hattrick in the Europa League. The Leicester City striker needed just 9 minutes to score his three goals in a 4-3 victory over Spartak Moscow in October 2021.
In total, Gift Orban already has 12 goals and 1 assist in just 10 games for Gent after joining them in January!!!
Playing style of Gift Orban
Orban is a very quick, aggressive, clinical and ruthless striker who is very skilled with both feet.
He is proving to be a special player, due to the maturity he’s exhibiting at just 20 years of age.
He is also playing beyond his experience as he came from the Norwegian second division and instantly settled in a major European top flight.
Furthermore, the Nigerian forward has an all-round ability and still has more room for improvement.
Against Zulte Waregem for instance, Orban scored one goal with his left foot, one with his right foot from within the box, one with his right foot from outside the box, and then also from a direct free kick.
This is an exciting period for Nigerians as the Super Eagles also currently boasts of other top attackers in Europe in the likes of Victor Osimhen, Paul Onuachu, Ademola Lookman, Chuba Akpom, Terem Moffi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sadiq Umar, Victor Boniface, Cyriel Dessers and Folarin Balogun.
Should the latest youngster in Gent keep improving, it won’t take long before we start seeing him in an elite club and in a major league.
Remember the name………………….Gift Orban!!!