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A Gift to football

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Gift Emmanuel Orban has written history. Wonderkid Gift Orban struck four goals during 40 second-half minutes in the Belgium top flight recently, in a remarkable showing that proved Victor Osimhen isn’t the only Nigerian hotshot giving defenders sleepless nights this season. There’s more.

Before he smashed those four goals, Orban had scored another hattrick in the previous game, but this time in the Europa Conference League. Scoring 7 goals in 2 games is no easy feat, with Erling Haaland the only player that has actually gone and done the same.

What the Norwegian hasn’t been able to match is Orban’s latest record in UEFA. The 20-year-old Nigerian striker scored the fastest hattrick in any European competition in KAA Gent’s victory over Turkish club Basaksehir FK. In the first half, Orban scored a hattrick within just four minutes—the fastest record in UEFA history.

The previous record for the fastest hattrick in a UEFA club competition was held by Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian striker scored three goals in just six minutes in Liverpool’s 7-1 win over Rangers during a UEFA Champions League group stage match in October 2022. Patson Daka holds the record for the fastest hattrick in the Europa League. The Leicester City striker needed just nine minutes to score his three goals in a 4-3 victory over Spartak Moscow in October 2021.

The Nigerian kid is something special, and this might be just the start of a beautiful career. While critics may want to say it could be a flash in the pan, the booming rise of Orban suggests otherwise, as he looks set to follow in the footsteps of many great Nigerian players who used the Belgian league as a launching pad to global relevance.

How good is Gift Orban?

Far from being an accomplished player, Orban had to work hard to see his name in the lights. Like many Nigerian players before him, Orban faced countless challenges and obstacles, but he has remained steadfast in his determination to succeed. Despite his hard work and dedication, success seemed to elude him, and he found himself at a crossroads. But little did he know that fate had something in store for him.

It was when he moved to Togo in search of better opportunities that his fortunes changed.

A shock signing in January from the Norwegian second division Gift Emmanuel Orban has already become a class act with Belgian club KAA Gent.

With that hattrick in the Conference League, Orban will now have secured his name in the football history books. But it is also important to point out that the Nigerian striker is one of the most exciting talents playing in Belgium football at the moment. Signed from the Norwegian second-division side Stabæk Fotball in January 2023 for €3.3m, Orban has already scored 12 goals in nine games across all competitions.

Raised in Togo, the youngster won the Norwegian second-tier Golden Boot and Young Player of the Year award last season, before quitting Stabaek for Gent on transfer deadline day. After 19 goals in 24 outings for his previous club in all competitions, not to mention the promotion to the top flight, Orban followed in Osimhen’s footsteps by moving to Belgium at Gent.


Gift Orban stats

Orban now already has seven goals in five Pro League outings since arriving at Gent, sending them to the brink of the Championship playoffs, The 20-year-old Nigerian striker also has a far better goals-to-games ratio than Osimhen managed during his season-long loan at Sporting Charleroi in 2018-19.

Since making his debut on February 11, Orban has averaged a goal every 61 minutes of league action – with only Haris Tabakovic of Austria Vienna and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe scoring more regularly during that period of all players in the top 10 European leagues.


Gift Orban scout report

Not since 2000, and Mouscron’s Nenad Jestrovic, has a player scored seven goals in his first five matches in the Belgian league, and while Orban is already developing something of a reputation for individualism, his head coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is still focusing on the upside of the in-form goal-getter.

“I didn’t see him the first half, but he doesn’t have to be in the match to score out of the blue each time,” he said, as per Sporza. “He saved us from a difficult game.

“Things can always improve, he still has some conditioning work ahead of him…and has to learn to celebrate with the team.”

At 20, the prowess of Orban is highly commendable, as some of his distinguishing talents include being fast, clinical, ruthless, and also adept with both feet. In his brief tenure in the Pro League, he has already scooped Gent Player of the Month and Best Goal for February.

Orban is ready to follow in the footsteps of his compatriots, who, after conquering Belgium, went on to the more glamorous Premier League and he rightly admits he needs to master his trade to achieve this

Gift Orban transfer news

While Onuachu set many records during his time in Belgium, all indications suggest that Orban, Nigeria’s latest addition to the Jupiler Pro League, is the next big thing in football, and fans can expect greater things from him.

Nonetheless, it looks like Gent have unearthed another talent. In fact, the transfer almost fell apart when Stabæk demanded a transfer fee of €3.3m. But then Gent sold Ibrahim Salah for €3m to Stade Rennais, opening the door for Orban to join Gent.

That deal now looks like a steal as Orban has hit the ground running immediately in Belgium, setting records domestically and in Europe. The Nigerian has a current market value of €1m, but it is safe to say that Orban will quickly grow in value if he continues in this trajectory.


Arnold Lewis
A hardcore Chelsea fan, who is often found playing football on the weekends. He has an exceptional voice and his rendition of old Hindi classic songs will make your heart melt. He is the man with the funky hair.

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