Nigerian football star Victor Osimhen has thanked Nigerians for standing by him after his club, Napoli, posted two controversial TikTok videos that were widely seen as mocking him.
The videos, which have since been deleted, first likened Osimhen to a coconut then the other mocked the striker for a penalty miss against Bologna.
Osimhen was understandably furious with the video, a development that saw him delete all pictures linking him with Napoli on his Instagram page.
The federal government also waded into the matter, saying it would reach out to the government of Italy, Napoli and Victor Osimhen over the issues he is having with his club.
Senator John Owan Enoh, Minister of Sports Development, disclosed this in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, 28 September 2023 in Abuja.
Enoh said the Federal Government was committed to ensuring Nigerian sportsmen and women are accorded the respect they deserve and are not exposed to injustice, discrimination and unfair trolling that could be detrimental to their career trajectory.
Napoli, obviously bowing to pressure after keeping mute for days, later released a statement on the incident.
However, instead of apologising to Osimhen, the club only explained they never had any intention to offend the striker with the “soft contents.”
In a statement he personally signed on Sunday, the Nigerian star defended the club after they were labelled racists by angry commentators.
“Coming to the City of Naples in 2020 was a wonderful decision for me. The People of Napoli have shown me so much love and kindness, and I wll not allow anyone to come between us. The passion of the People of Naples fuels my fire to always play with my heart and soul, and the love for the badge is unwavering as I wear it with pride”.
“The accusations against People of Naples are untrue. I have a lot of friends that are Napolitans and have become part of my family and everyday life. I appreciate Nigerians and everyone for leading their voices to support and reach out to me, I’m forever grateful. Let’s support unity, respect and understanding,” he said.