KAA Gent forward Gift Orban has shown the Nigeria national football team manager, José Peseiro, the error of his ways with a brilliant hattrick just moments after the November 2023 international break squad list was released.
The former Venezuela national football team manager is rounding off preparations for the Super Eagles camp to prepare for their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in November. Nigeria will face Lesotho and Zimbabwe in their bid for a seventh World Cup appearance.
Gift Orban, who missed out on the October break, will have to wait for a little while for his first international cap.
6’ – Goal ⚽
54’ – Goal ⚽
69’ – Goal ⚽
Gift Orban with the hat-trick 🎩 pic.twitter.com/AVWQ0XTBHR
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) November 9, 2023
Gift Orban scores hattrick for Gent to restore club manager's hope
Gift Orban was the talk of the football world from the turn of 2023 when he left Norwegian side Stabæk Fotball for Belgium League side KAA Gent.
Transfer news links to Tottenham Hotspur amongst other Premier League sides, RC Lens amongst other French Ligue 1 sides, Barcelona, AC Milan amongst other Serie A sides, and Eintracht Frankfurt amongst other German Bundesliga sides were all reported to want the versatile forward at certain points.
He remained at Gent but his first full season at the club did not start as he hoped. After scoring in his first few matches, he went on a nine-game goal drought where he was not only failing to find the back of the net, but was an on-field liability.
He has finally found his scoring boots again and this time, he has netted his fifth hattrick for Gent since joining them in January.
For the 5th time in 10 months, Gift Orban scores at least three goals in a match for Gent:
vs Zulte Waregem ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️
vs Basaksehir ⚽️⚽️⚽️
vs Cercle Brugge ⚽️⚽️⚽️
vs Pogoń Szczecin ⚽️⚽️⚽️
vs Breiðablik ⚽️⚽️⚽️
21 years of age. Natural born killer. 🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/wtsMN0HOms
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) November 9, 2023
Orban has slowly started to win his manager's trust again, who had once stated that the player was becoming a burden due to his lack of goalscoring. His hattrick in the UEFA Europa Conference League away at Iceland to Breiðablik has gotten the Belgian tactician talking about him once again like he did a few months ago when Orban was scoring at an alarming rate.
Ivan De Witte, Gent's chairman, is also confident that Gift Orban will reach his peak again.
The player is still the subject of many transfer rumours and his improved form can also play into Gent's hands, who understand that they may not be able to keep him behind the January 2024 transfer window.
Frankfurt, where former Super Eagles captain Augustine “Jay Jay” Okocha made a name for himself, is interested in a January deal for Orban.
Gift Orban unofficially rules out of AFCON 2023
José Peseiro included Gift Orban in his backup plans for the November 2023 international break but after the player's hattrick, is sure to regret not having him in the squad.
The absence of Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze was Orban's opportunity but instead, Peseiro gave Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Nathan Tella a deserved first call up. Orban, meanwhile, was hoping to get back into the Super Eagles squad after CAF had sorted out his nationality issues between the Togo FA and the NFF.
No new options in goal
Osimhen misses out through injury
First call up for Nathan Tella
Here’s the Super Eagles squad to face Lesotho & Zimbabwe in this month’s World Cup Qualifiers.
— Home of Nigerian Football (@EaglesTrackerNG) November 9, 2023
The 21-year-old still has time, however, but with the quality of attacking talent in the Super Eagles squad, he will need more hat tricks to convince Peseiro in the future.
This non-appearance in November all but rules Gift Orban out of the 2023 AFCON tournament as well, because the Portuguese tactician will most likely be calling a familiar squad to travel with him to Ivory Coast come January 2024.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago