With his blistering pace and powerful shot, Victor Obinna is one of the most promising attacking options for Lars Lagerback and Nigeria. Capable of playing on the wing or as a striker, the 23-year-old is on the books at Inter Milan, but he was a regular this past season with Malaga on loan in Spain’s La Liga. He has been in Italian football since 2005 when he was signed by Chievo after a short spell in the domestic league, but he truly came to the world’s attention with Nigeria at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament. Obinna was one of the stars of the tournament for the eventual silver medal winners, captaining the side in the quarter-finals and semi-finals before they lost to a Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the ultimate match. The confident Obinna tallied goals in three consecutive matches and formed a wicked partnership with Super Eagles starter Peter Odemwingie along the way.
In Nigeria, supporters have been waiting for Obinna to become a major player on the world stage since the 2006 CAF Africa Cup of Nations when the then-18-year-old made a splash in the knockout rounds despite not playing at all in the group stages. Getting a start in the quarter-final with Tunisia, Obinna scored his first international goal in just the fifth minute and converted a spot kick as the Super Eagles advanced at the end of a penalty shootout. He started the next two matches as the side lost in the semi-final to Côte d'Ivoire but then finished third with a win over Senegal. He had a limited role at the 2008 Cup of Nations, but he was one of the regular attackers called up for 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying by previous coach Shaibu Amodu.
He appeared nine times and scored four goals, which was enough for him to be co-top scorer with Ikechukwu Uche. His most significant tallies came in second half injury time to beat Mozambique 1-0 in the second-to-last preliminary, which kept Nigeria’s slim hopes of reaching South Africa alive. He came on as a substitute for the first five matches of the 2010 Cup of Nations, and he then showed all of his pace and composure in scoring one of the goals of the event in his first start - a 1-0 win over Algeria that gave the Super Eagles third place in Angola.