Not many players have the opportunity of plying their football trade in Europe regardless of his creativity and ability to score goals.
It is always a privilege for some of the few individuals who today are shinning in some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
For Stephen Odey a young man from the ghetto streets of Agege Lagos Nigeria, he realised his dream of playing in Europe when he joined Switzerland’s FC Zurich in 2017.
Odey’s football career started as far back as when he was in secondary school. The 21-year-old participated in the second edition of the Guaranty Trust Bank Principal’s Cup captaining Dairy Farm Senior secondary school Agege.
His feat in that competition earned him a spot in GTBank’s training camp under former Arsenal coach Mark Ellis. Shortly after that training camp, he was snapped up by NPFL side MFM.
He made 42 appearances for the Agege based side scoring 23 goals. His form in that campaign earned him a move to FC Zurich where he scored 12 goals in 45 appearances.
Just last week, Odey joined the league of Nigerian players such as late Stephen Keshi, Philip Osondu, Victor Ikpeba, Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Augustine Eguavoen, and Chidi N’Wanu that have graced the Jupiler Pro League by signing for Belgian Champions Genk.
His latest move to the Jupiler Pro League is a reward for all his hard work and dedication. Genk paid 7.5 million Euros to sign the Nigerian international on a five-year contract.
In terms of how the move will benefit him, it gives Odey the chance to stake a claim for a place in the Nigerian national team especially with him playing champions league football next season.
Odey will be gracing the UEFA Champions League stage for the first time, a dream every player would always love to cherish and it gives him the chance to impress on the big stage.
The former MFM forward can look to Henry Onyekuru as an inspiration who also played in the Belgian Pro League with Anderlecht and is now a regular member of the Super Eagles squad.
Former Anderlecht coach Rene Weiler spoke highly of Odey, saying he has the talent to shine in Belgium, but the fans must also be patient with the young striker.
“He still needs to improve on the technical aspects of his game and also his killer instincts,” Swiss-born Weiler told Het Nieuwsblad. “But already he is fast, powerful and has talent.”
Having said that, Odey is expected to flourish in the Belgian League considering the fact that he’s not strange with the culture and environment of their football and would definitely bang in the goals in the fast approaching season.