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Nigerian defender Benjamin Tanimu reveals unexpected idol

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Nigerian international defender Benjamin Tanimu has unveiled the identity of his most revered footballing icon: Festus Austin. The unexpected choice has sparked intrigue and admiration among fans of Nigerian football and beyond.

While the footballing world has witnessed the rise of iconic defenders such as Vidic, Ferdinand, Ramos, and Maldini, none have captured the admiration of Benjamin Tanimu quite like Festus Austin.

In an exclusive interview with Soccernet, Tanimu expressed his profound admiration for the former Rivers United and NPFL stalwart, highlighting Austin’s influence on his own career trajectory.

“I always wanted to play like Festus Austin, the former captain of Rivers United.

He has always been a great person, on and off the field, and I had the opportunity to get close to him. He was a great leader, so I always wanted to play like him and be more than him if I could.

So, I’m going with Festus Austin,” Tanimu revealed, shedding light on the profound impact Austin had on shaping his aspirations and playing style.

Nicknamed “Koboko,” Festus Austin’s journey in football began at Paulson Academy in Benin City, Edo State, before making significant strides with Bendel Insurance in 2007 and subsequently Dolphins of Port Harcourt, now known as Rivers United, in 2008.

Renowned for his defensive acumen, Austin’s career was unfortunately cut short due to persistent injuries, leading to his retirement at the end of the previous season.

Despite his premature exit from the sport, Festus Austin left an indelible mark on Nigerian football, garnering respect and admiration for his leadership qualities and defensive prowess.

His international exploits with the U17s, including appearances in the 2005 UEFA-CAF Méridien Cup and the U17 African Championship in Gambia, further solidified his legacy as a revered figure in Nigerian football history.

As Benjamin Tanimu continues to carve his path in the footballing world, his homage to Festus Austin serves as a poignant reminder of the profound influence mentors and role models can have on shaping the aspirations and ambitions of emerging talents in the beautiful game.

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