By Ikenwa Nnabuogor
This is not the best of times for KAA Gent Nigerian striker Gift Orban who seems to have forgotten his scoring boots momentarily, not returning the favours he served steaming hot to his new side hot when he switched from Norway’s Stabaek last year summer.
Orban has recently gone from phenomenal to struggling as his range in front of him seems to have been too far for him, going a whooping nine games both in Belgium and in Europe, firing blanks much to the surprise of fans, including yours’ truly.
The former Stabaek former going uncharacteristically whooping nine games without scoring, is quite unusual for a striker whose knack for scoring is highly impressive.
What could have gone wrong for the “golden goose” that laid priceless eggs for the city known for their medieval monasteries and the Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market)?
Could the embattled striker have been badly hit psychologically that he didn’t make the transfer move and record for the modest Belgian side despite attracting huge interests from bigger clubs in England, France and Spain?
Much to add to this including his unfortunate red card against AS Eupen last month may have negatively affected this gift of a marksman and adding to his goal banging set back.
A string of injuries he also suffered coupled with the ownership squabbles between Nigeria and Togo, where he spent his formative years, may also have affected his precision in front of goal.
Typically, as a striker, Orban could be consoling himself attributing his sudden and surprise goal lull to passing out a phase that could soon be dumped to where it belongs and back to his goal scoring business that made him one of the most feared marksmen in Belgium and in Europe.
Recently toppled by Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren as the most expensive player in the Transfermarkt ratings in the Belgian League, on the worth of €25 million, leaving Orban tying on second place with Nigerian-born Norwegian star Antonio Nusa, is indeed not a cheering news for a striker who took Belgium by storm.
Scoring a paltry two goals in nine league appearances for his club, is an indication that all is not well for the striker, who has incredibly scored a mouthwatering 33 goals in 39 league appearances thus far since he stormed Europe just a year ago.
With such an incredible record, it’s baffling he’s gone a “century” of nine games without finding the back of the net fuelling fears that all may not be well after all.
Is he saving his gifts for last? Definitely, it could appear so if his qualifies are to be taken into recognition, his hiatus may well be a phase.
Lacking in inches, Orban is a defenders’ neck pain, compactly build with a low centre of gravity, quick off the mark, intelligent, this Gift isn’t a Greek one.
Gent may well be preparing the Friday Market and laying the pathways with petals and roses for a triumphant entry of their hero who’s seriously eyeing a comeback and the comeback may not be too far.
What about Europe?
Is he saving his hat tricks for last?
His last hurray in the UEFA Conference League was against Polish side MKS Pogon Szczecin in August and has gone surprisingly gone four games without scoring.
The resurgence may have start in their Thursday visit to Iceland to engage Breidablik UBK in the UEFA Conference League group game, Orban may be back again with a bagful of hat trick to sing new song for his embattled self and Gent.
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