From Warri to England, Oghenekaro Etebo’s journey to becoming one of the Super Eagles’ driving force in midfield has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Oghenekaro Peter Etebo who is now a regular in Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles team was born in Lagos, Nigeria on November 9, 1995.
While most players that turn out for the Super Eagles come through the youth ranks and premier football academies, Etebo started his youth career in 2011 with Lord Honour FC.
His professional breakthrough came with Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side Warri Wolves when he joined their academy in 2012. After a developmental year, Etebo finally made his debut in the NPFL for Warri Wolves in 2013.
Etebo did not represent either of the national team at U-17 and U-20 level while he was developing at Warri Wolves. It was at Warri Wolves Etebo made a name for himself and his performances earned him a call up to the Super Eagles home-based team for a 2014 African Nations Championship qualification game against Côte d’Ivoire. Etebo missed out of Stephen Keshi’s Super Eagles team to the 2014 African Nations Championship but continued to churn in good performances in the NPFL.
Still, in the NPFL, Etebo led Nigeria to victory at the 2015 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations scoring two goals in the final game. Etebo’s next outing in the Green and White of Nigeria will be at the football event of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. In the opening game for the Dream Team, Etebo scored four goals as Nigeria beat Japan, helping the team on their way to a bronze medal.
Etebo’s exploit meant he progressed to the Super Eagles after the Olympics as he played a crucial role in Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He was among the 23 players selected for the tournament in Russia, where he started all three group games.
After his exploits at the 2015 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations, Etebo sealed his first move abroad to Portuguese lower division side Club Deportivo Feirense.
At Feirense, he helped them gain promotion from the lower league to the first division of football in Portugal. Etebo was loaned out by Feirense to Spanish La Liga side Las Palmas in the 2018 winter transfer window.
Just before the start of the world cup, Etebo sealed a five-year deal to English championship side, Stoke City, worth around £6.35 million.
Etebo draws comparison with former Super Eagles great, Daniel Amokachi, who is regarded as “The Bull” due to his energetic style of play. The 22-year-old is a versatile midfielder who can operate in several midfield positions but is preferable as a central midfielder who can make deep runs from box to box.
Over the course of his career, Etebo has shown versatility in the defensive, attacking right side of midfield.
At the AFCON, Etebo is expected to bring a dynamic combative style to the Super Eagles midfield which no other player possesses.