Oluwagbebe: Teen defender who loves Osimhen


By: Toni Ufoh.

Youngster Alex Oluwagbebe, 15, is living his dream at Bora Football Academy, Alimosho, Lagos,  where he has been honing his skills and hoping to one day become a global star of the beautiful game.

Oluwagbebe, a  pupil of El-Shaddai Secondary School in Goye area of Alimosho, Lagos is a left-footed defender who features for the U-16  category of his club.

Born September 7, 2008, the teenager, who loves the Super Eagles, told our correspondent that he relishes watching Napoli forward  Victor Osimhen scoring goals with ease.

“I like the way Osimhen scores because it seems so easy for him, and that is why he is my best player in the Super Eagles. Every time he is in possession of the ball in the 18-yard, defenders are in trouble.

“The way he struggles for the ball and his speed are qualities I am learning from his style of play and as a defender; one needs to work hard to stop such strikers who have got speed,” Oluwagbebe told PUNCH Sports Extra.

The SSS 1 pupil of El Shaddai Secondary School said it took the intervention of the coach of his academy, for him to get officially registered with the club in 2022, even though he had been secretly attending their trainings since 2020, without the knowledge of his parents.

He said, “My mother and father did not know initially that I play football with an academy managed by coach Adeniran Ajao. He later had to meet my mother first to convince her to register me, but she initially refused to assent to it, until my grandmother intervened. Later, she too convinced my father to allow me to join the academy.

“My grandmother begged her that she should allow me to play with the academy because nowadays footballers are  also  making money from the game. After a while, she gave her consent and even went to the market and bought boots, shin guards and hoses for me, including the club’s jersey.”

The youngster isn’t exempted from the usual ‘craze’ for European football by Nigerians, and admitted his love for LaLiga giants Barcelona.

“I like Barcelona and one day, If I work hard, I would go there because they are a great club.”

Defenders are usually not on the scoresheet and that is why Oluwagbebe cherishes his best game so far, when he grabbed the winning goal as Bora academy overcame rivals AZ BET 3-2.

“The game was played this year. Score was tied at 2-2 when I went forward, robbed AZ’s defender of the ball before I found my way into the box to score our third goal. Everyone was very happy,” the up-and-coming footballer said, beaming with a smile.

Oluwagbebe’s parents, Dayo and Arinola, told our correspondent that they never wanted him to play football because of the fear that his school work would be affected.

His father Dayo said, ”When  Alex’s coach, Adeniran came to our house, he met my wife and he tried to convince her that we should allow him to officially join the academy. This was in 2020.  My wife objected. Initially, I was also not open to the idea because I didn’t want his studies to suffer, but now I think he has been able to manage his studies and football.But grandma prevailed and we allowed him to go.

“Now, I hear that he’s a good defender. They said he plays as No.3 for his academy’s U-16 side. I am just a good football fan, not a player.”

The coach of Bora academy, Adeniran, told our correspondent that he had to go to Oluwagbebe’s parents house to convince them to allow him play for the academy.

He said, “He came with his friend to the club in 2020 and he played with us and that was where we discovered that he s a good player. After some games, I went to tell his parents to register him with us but the mother was afraid. So, I followed him home and talked to his mother, who later convinced his father. That was how he became our reliable No.3 in the U-16 at the academy.”