Victor Osimhen, 25, who was just named African Footballer of the Year, needs to put on his scoring boots if the coach of Nigeria is to have his team score more goals at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Osimhen’s tremendous contribution has only been slightly lacking as Nigeria has stormed to the tournament’s semi-finals in the Ivory Coast. They will play South Africa in Bouake on Wednesday in hopes of advancing to the final.
With his tremendous work rate, ability to press high on opponents and force turnovers, and ability to run the ball into space and hold it there for the duration of the game despite the intense heat and humidity, Osimhen has been the most impressive player at the finals. The spectators have been in awe of his fighting prowess and fitness.
However, the top scorer in Serie A last season, who led Napoli to their first championship since 1990 with 26 goals, has only scored once in the tournament, where the highly anticipated Super Eagles have scored six goals in five games to advance to the round of four.
Nigeria won 1-0 against Angola in the quarterfinals to record their fourth straight shutout.
“We played without giving up and managed to score a goal once more, but I was hoping for more. The group was capable of producing more opportunities,” head coach Jose Peseiro stated. “We possess a talented team, but I want us to be more efficient.”
It has not been without trying for Osimhen and his team mates.
“All of us are desperate to make up for failing to reach the 2022 World Cup. The only way we can achieve that goal is by winning the Cup of Nations,” Osimhen said earlier in the tournament.
“We are capable of winning this tournament because the squad is packed with players who are performing exceptionally well for their European clubs,” added the striker who has himself struggled with injury this season and been involved in a row with his club over social media posts.
Osimhen has scored eight goals this term as seventh-placed Napoli have struggled in the defence of their title and he is set to leave at the end of the season.
There will be no lack of suitors, however, given how he has performed in the Ivory Coast and a few more Cup of Nations goals would make the energetic forward even more appealing.