Orji Okonkwo: Ex Golden Eaglets Star Banned By FIFA Till 2026

Balogun Kamilu Lekan

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

Orji Okonkwo rose to prominence as a footballer when he won the 2015 U-17 World Cup for the Nigerian team, alongside other youngsters like Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal.

After the World Cup, he joined the Italian side, Bologna, in 2016.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

Orji made 30 appearances for Bologna, scoring three goals.

After spending two years with the Italian Club, he Brescia on a loan contract.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

Later in February 2019, Okonkwo joined the Montreal Impact until December 31, 2019, where he won the Canadian Championship with the side.

The Canadian side re-acquired Okwonkwo on loan with a purchase option at the end of the 2020 season.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

He was then called up for national duty with the Nigerian U-23 side for the African Cup of Nations. Okonkwo bagged a goal against Zambia in the tournament.

In February 2021, the football star moved to Serie B side Reggina on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Later, in July 2021, he joined another Italian Serie B side, Cittadella, on loan.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

During his loan spell at Cittadella, Okonkwo tested positive for the steroid clostebol in February 2022.

The Nigeria Football Federation announced, through a statement, in September 2022 announced that the striker had been suspended from football for four years by FIFA after being found guilty of a doping violation.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

The footballer had allegedly used Clostebol, a natural hormone similar to testosterone, to treat a problematic knee. The drug is on the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List.

The FIFA disciplinary committee, however, found him guilty of a doping violation, extending his sanction to take effect worldwide and preventing Okonkwo from participating in football activity for the next four years.

Photo: Instagram/@orjibigstriker_n

The statement released by the committee reads, “Consequently, the committee decided to extend the sanction imposed on the player by the Italian Nado on June 20, 2022,”

“More specifically, the player is sanctioned with a four years suspension from all football-related activities in accordance with the decision.

His ban was backdated to February 25, 2022, and will run till February 24, 2026.

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