Barely a year and a few months ago, Gift Emmanuel Orban was thinking of quitting football and becoming an “Olokpa” but decided to give it another go when it happened.
Like every Nigerian boy, Gift loved football and wanted to become a professional footballer and this led to him skipping classes to play football.
This risk almost turned FATAL!
Background of Gift Emmanuel Orban
Gift Orban’s father was Nigerian and his mother, a Togolese so when he couldn’t get any club to sign him in Nigeria, he went to Togo in 2021.
In Togo, he participated in a football trial organized by Nigerian football Scout, Ola Fowler in Lome, Togo’s capital where he decided if it didn’t go well, he will try to become a police officer, an “Olokpa”.
Ola Fowler loved what he saw and invited Gift Orban to another trial in Akwa Ibom, Uyo.
The trial in Uyo was set up by influential football agent, Emefie Atta Aneke, who represents football stars like Ighalo and Chelsea’s Datro Fofana.
How Gift Orban ‘Failed’ His Trials
The trial was supposed to last for 6 days with players playing 9 games and having the opportunity to impress scouts from different European leagues but after just 2 matches, Gift Or an was withdrawn.
“THE BEAUTY OF LIFE LIES IN ITS UNPREDICTABILITY”
When asked why he withdrew Gift Orban after just 2 matches, he said,
“There was no need keeping him there any longer”
“Gift scored 3 goals in one game and it wasn’t just that he scored, it was how. His confidence and the way he struck the ball; I instantly knew that this was a player that would go far.”
Another Scout also saw his performance and wanted him immediately, he’s a scout from Norway.
“A MAN’S GIFT OPENS DOORS FOR HIM, AND BRINGS HIM BEFORE GREAT MEN.”
He was the scout of the Norwegian club, Starbaek FC, a team that had just been relegated to the second division of the Norwegian League.
In 2022, Gift was invited to Starbaek pre-season training camp, and shockingly, Gift Orban didn’t impress Starbaek coaches.
And when his visa expired in February, he returned to Nigeria, disappointed at seeing his dreams shattered.
“REMEMBER, LIFE IS FULL OF UPS AND DOWNS, WITHOUT THE DOWNS, THE UPS WOULD MEAN NOTHING.”
Gift Orban’s Revival in Norway
But something happened in Norway. Starbaek was still without a regular striker and decided to re-invite Gift to come train with their second team to see if he could develop better.
Their second team played in the Norwegian 4th division and Gift jumped at the opportunity as he left Nigeria for Norway in May 2022.
“GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS”
He had visa problems and had to be signed on loan from “Bison FC”.
Orban’s Second Chance Revival
When Gift landed in the Norwegian 4th division, he SCORED in every game and the club decided to give him a chance in a cup fixture with the main team.
Gift took that gift of an opportunity, he scored and in his next game with the first team again, he scored TWICE!!!
“TAKE YOUR CHANCES OR WATCH SOMEONE ELSE TAKE THEM FOR YOU”
Those two chances took him straight to Starbaek first team in the second division and he tore the league in shreds scoring 9 goals and 3 assists in his first 7 matches either scoring or assisting in his first 7 matches CONSECUTIVELY.
After the first 3 starts, Starbaek sold a player and used the money to activate Gift Orbans release clause from Nigerian club, “Bison FC” and he became an official Starbaek player.
In 22 games, he scored 16 goals with 7 assists tying for the Golden Boat award and led Starbaek back to the Norwegian 1st division.
How Orban Became The Darling of European Clubs
“WHEN IT’S YOUR TIME, IT IS YOUR TIME.”
Scouts around Europe took notice of him and one of them was Samuel Cardenas, Belgium 1st Division Club Scout, Gent FC.
He convinced his club CEO to spend €3Million after spending just 3 months as a professional player.
He made his debut for Gent in February 11th 2023 and scored 2 goals, 4 matches later, he scored 4 goals!!!!
“SEE, WORK HARD, STAY DISCIPLINED AND BE PATIENT, YOUR TIME WILL COME.”
And just when we thought we’ve seen it all, 3 days after scoring 4 goals for Gent, he scored 3 goals in 3 minutes in the European Conference League to put the world on notice.
How Orban Moved to French Giants, Lyon
He ended up scoring 32 goals for Gent and this led to French Giants, Lyon spending €12 Million to sign him, a player that cost Gent €3 Million a year ago.
A player that wasn’t even playing professional football 2years ago!!!!
“DON’T BE DISCOURAGED, YOUR TIME WILL COME, KEEP WORKING”
He is the FIRST Nigerian to play for Lyon after just barely 2 years as a professional!!!
Life is like an ocean, it goes up and down. The downs of life makes the up of life more meaningful.
No matter what knocks you down in life, get back up and keep going, NEVER GIVE UP!