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Nigerians In Sports: Wilson Oruma


Nigeria is the most successful nation in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, thanks to players who have brought five trophies of the FIFA age-grade competition home. Wilson Oruma is a huge example of one of the Nigerian talents that have shone brightly at the competition.

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He captained the victorious 1993 World Cup-winning squad and emerged as the highest goal scorer with a total of 6 goals. However, Oruma is not our focus for today owing to only his efforts at the U-17 stage, the retired midfielder’s exploits for the country deserves credits, one of the best midfield players in Nigerian football history.

Born in Warri, Delta State, on December 30, 1976, Oruma started out in the domestic scene and was a key player for Bendel Insurance before his transfer to RC Lens, France, in 1994. Oruma would go on to fly the country’s flag high again in 1996 as he was part of the Gold-winning Atlanta 1996 Olympics U-23 Nigerian football team side. In 1998, Oruma was listed in the Nigerian FIFA World Cup squad and would justify his call-up by scoring and having a brilliant display in his only appearance against Paraguay.

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At the continental level, he featured for Nigeria in the 2002 and 2006 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, winning bronze on both occasions. Oruma played for the Super Eagles 19 times in eleven years before hanging his international booths.

Oruma who spent most of his club-playing years in France, played for European sides like Lens, Sochaux, Marseille, Guingamp, Nancy, Nimes, Samsunspor, Servette, and more.

The peak of his club career saw him win the French Coupe de la Ligue twice with Sochaux in the 2003/2004 season and Guingamp in the 2008/2009 season. Oruma retired from professional football in 2010 at the age of 34.

Despite suffering a mental disorder in 2018 after being duped of a large sum in the region of 2 billion Naira by fake oil businessmen and pastor, Oruma’s fighting spirit saw him bounce back and was offered a non-playing role with the Super Eagles by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.


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