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Can legacy-seeking Osimhen deliver AFCON title on current form?

BY Guest Writer

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BY SUNDAY OMEIKE

If there is anyone who can end Nigeria’s 10-year Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title drought, it is Victor Osimhen.

The energetic 6ft 1in striker undeniably loves his country and drips green sweats when representing his birth nation. However, he can join the pantheon of greats by pushing the Eagles over the line on the continental stage.

On the eve of the tournament, the 25-year-old said he is not running away from responsibility and wants to write his own AFCON legacy but his lukewarm club form and recent attitude issues may be cause for concern.

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Osimhen’s record-breaking 2023/23 season culminated in the coveted CAF men’s African Player of the Year award but his momentum has slowed this season due to a combination of injury, disciplinary issues and average form by his high standards.

He has scored just eight goals in 18 matches this season and did not score in three consecutive matches twice, with multiple penalty misses.

However, the former Lille striker does not stop trying even when things do not go his way and this has pitted him against coaches, players and club multiple times within five months.

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On the flip side, his passion leads to a better outcome with the national team; ten goals in AFCON qualifying is a testament.

More evident is that Osimhen scores at least once in every two matches for the Super Eagles on average. Of the 14 competitive matches he has scored for the nation, Nigeria has gone on to win 11 of them — over 80% assurance. This means that when Osimhen scores, Nigeria should do wonders in Ivory Coast.

He did it in AFCON qualifiers, looks happy in camp and is hitting the right notes in the media. Osimhen is not new to pressure and as the only recognised top marksman in the Eagles’ ranks, he can’t afford to let Nigerians down.

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