Spending some time with Victor Ikpeba popularly known by football lovers as “Prince of Monaco” was quite interesting. He did his best as one of Nigeria’s finest professional footballer to make his mark in Belgium and France. He played for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in service to his fatherland and was part of the team that won the historic 1996 Atlanta Olympics Gold Medal.
Victor Ikpeba was born in 1973 by a Yoruba woman to an Isoko man from Delta State who also loved soccer. He lost his father at a tender age and had to stay with his grandma as a child. He started his education in Sapele and ended it up at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Having played for local clubs in Lagos for a while, he was invited to play with the Under-17 Golden Eaglets of Nigeria at the World Cup in 1988 by the then coach Sebastian Brodericks before foreign scouts took interest and contracted him to Belgium for professional football at the age of 16. He refused to stay alone in a hotel provided by the football club as a teenager because he was afraid of getting into youthful exuberance and vices in faraway Belgium, so, a Belgian family took him in and nurtured him through his adolescent years into maturity.
Victor Ikpeba had a fulfilling football career to the point of winning the 1997 African Footballer of the year. He got married to Atinuke, a Yoruba lady who died of cancer in the year 2000 leaving behind 3 children
As a retired football veteran, he spends his quality time as a sports analyst with Supersport and writes about soccer. He is a level-headed man with a special interest in helping to raise the next generation of soccer stars in Nigeria.