In the sequence of 1980, 1994, 2013, and now 2024, could this be Nigeria’s year? In just 8 days, the answer will unfold. Victor Osimhen, Africa’s best player is pivotal to the aspirations of many Nigerians, and has traversed a journey from his notable U-17 performance in 2015 to overcoming challenges at Wolfsburg, Charleroi Sporting, and Lille, reaching new heights with Napoli.
Having secured Napoli’s Scudetto after over three decades, Osimhen now bears the responsibility of leading Nigeria to the African Cup of Nations triumph, a feat last achieved in 2013.
It’s quite astonishing that a boy from the slums of Nigeria has become the main attraction at the eternal Stadio Maradona in Naples, and it’s not uncommon to hear the voice of Decibel Bellini, the official stadium announcer chant “Victor”, much to the delight of the adoring Neapolitans who responds with “Osimhen” whenever he scores.
Far away in Cote D’Ivoire, there is no Decibel Bellini, but Victor Osimhen’s name echoes with even more fervor on the football-mad African continent, with the fans always roaring his name, a testament to Victor’s impactful performances on the pitch.
Before the tournament, there were high expectations for Osimhen to score numerous goals for the Super Eagles. However, that hasn’t been the case as of now; he has only netted once in the competition, scoring against Equatorial Guinea in the opening fixture.
Despite the pressure to score, Osimhen appears to be Nigeria’s best player so far in the tournament, even without additional goals to that which he scored in game one.
While the entire team, including defenders, midfielders, and attackers, has delivered commendable performances, singling out Osimhen as Nigeria’s standout player in the tournament doesn’t diminish the contributions of others. It simply highlights the significant impact he brings, even in instances where he hasn’t found the net.
Osimhen plays a key role as the team’s main attacking force, smoothly causing problems for the opposing defenders. His clever off-the-ball movements disrupt the defenders’ focus on other players, showcasing his strategic abilities.
In the current tournament, Osimhen ranks as Nigeria’s second most fouled player, just behind Ademola Lookman, the team’s leading scorer. Given Osimhen’s effective hold-up play, it’s not surprising that he draws attention from opponents.
His on-field stats tell the story:
– Osimhen vs EQN: 0 fouls
– Osimhen vs CIV: 2 fouls
– Osimhen vs GUI: 0 fouls
– Osimhen vs CAM: 6 fouls
– Osimhen vs ANG: 2 fouls
– Total fouls suffered: 10
Lookman, the top scorer, faced:
– Lookman vs EQN: 2 fouls
– Lookman vs CIV: 4 fouls
– Lookman vs GUI: 0 fouls
– Lookman vs CAM: 2 fouls
– Lookman vs ANG: 5 fouls
– Total fouls suffered: 13
Osimhen’s leadership, encouragement, and commitment to the team reflect a player on a clear mission. He aims to prove himself as Africa’s best player and dismiss any doubts about the title being just for show.
Additionally, Osimhen aspires not only to be the best player from Africa but the best player in Africa. His heightened motivation to guide the Super Eagles to an AFCON triumph underscores his desire to be remembered among Nigerian football greats.
While excelling in his role, Osimhen’s fans eagerly await his goal-scoring contributions for added assurance. Despite not finding the net yet, there’s hope that he’ll get his chances soon. Even without scoring, Osimhen’s impact in two games could potentially lead his Nigeria to another AFCON triumph.