Football

Yakubu Ayegbeni: How injuries destroyed Victor Anichebe’s career

Victor Anichebe

Nigeria legend Yakubu Ayegbeni feels bad over Victor Anichebe’s inability to prove his worth owing to injuries.

Considered as one of the most promising young players of his generation after breaking in Everton’s first team from the club’s youth academy, Anichebe’s promising career faded into thin air following a string of ill-starred injuries.

After seven seasons at Goodison Park where he recorded 18 goals in 131 appearances, the 31-year-old was shipped out to West Bromwich Albion before heading to Sunderland after three seasons at the Hawthorns.

Relegation for the Black Cats saw the ex-Nigeria international join second-tier Chinese outfit Beijing Enterprises in 2017 before quitting the club a year later after accusing them of match-fixing.

Since, he has disappeared from the footballing fraternity which his former teammate at Merseyside blames on injury.

“I remember when I moved to Everton, he was very young and was like 16 or 17 years old,” Ayegbeni told Goal.

“He is big and strong and I know he has the talent, it is just a shame he didn’t push it from there because of injury.

“Whenever he is fit, he plays so well and whenever he is injured, he is out for at least two months before returning again. He is a good boy and he is just unlucky.

“For Anichebe, I’m sure he misses football because he has the qualities as a football player.

“Whenever he is always out injured, I miss him because I know his ability and what he is capable of doing.

“He is a kind of player that wants to show everybody that he is really good but he never had the chance because of injury, and I’m sure he will feel bad about that.

“Football is about proving your ability week in week out not just one week and being on the sidelines for two months. All the same, I really enjoyed my time with him at Everton.”

On the international scene, he has played a key role in Nigeria U23’s silver medal finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – scoring his only goal in the 2-1 triumph over Japan in Tianjin.

He made his senior debut against Austria on 27 May 2008, before going ahead to garner 11 caps and a goal.

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