Nigeria’s Canada 1987 FIFA U-17 World Cup sensation, Philip ‘Zanza’ Osondu has been reported dead at a hospital in Belgium, where he has been based since having his boots.
Megasportsarena.com gathered from the sketchy report out of Belgium that Osondu died after driving himself to the hospital to be examined on Thursday.
The former RSC Anderlecht of Belgium whiz-kid, who was a cadet sensation but never found his range at senior level, was said to have taken ill at work and decided to visit the hospital, only to be declared dead soon after.
He shot to limelight at Canada ’87, the second edition of the Cadet Mundial, in which the holders, Nigeria reached the final but lost on penalties to the Soviet Union, and Osondu went home with the Golden Ball as best player of the tournament.
Osondu played in Nigeria for El Kanemi Warriors of Maidugri before joining Anderlecht in 1988 and he made his debut in an away match against Germinal Ekeren a year later, playing under coach Aad de Mos.
However, there was a lot of competition at Anderlecht with players like Luc Nilis, Luis Oliveira, Marc Van Der Linden and Gert Verheyen which made Osondu stifle dout, and he was eventually loaned between 1990 and 1992 to neighbouring RWDM.
At RWDM, Hugo Broos gave him more playing opportunities, and Osondu scored his first goal in a 4-1 win over Beerschot VAV.
A year later Broos left for Club Brugge and was succeeded by Ladislav Novák, which led to fewer opportunities to play for Osondu and led to his return to Anderlecht.
In 1994, Osondu moved to second division club La Louviere, where the small and technically gifted striker scored five times in twenty matches.
A season later he swapped La Louvière during the winter break for Union Saint Gillis, where he completed the rest of the season. Afterwards he played several years for Diegem Sport and FC Merchtem 2000.
However, Osondu is often cited as one of many young Africans who went abroad too early, as he never reached the height his potential showed at Canada ’97.