Ex-international Segun Odegbami has suggested that striker Victor Osimhen must ease himself from the pressure of being the best player in Africa as he hopes to deliver the goals for Nigeria at the ongoing AFCON in Ivory Coast, The PUNCH reports.
Osimhen has scored only once in Nigeria’s three games so far at the competition, while the Napoli striker has missed a plethora of chances to add more to his tally. His only goal was during the team’s first game, scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea.
His wastefulness has caused his credentials to be questioned as he came into the tournament as the best player on the continent after winning the coveted award in December 2023, thanks to his superlative form at Napoli during the 2022/23 season.
“We don’t have a solid creative midfield yet and we are not as deadly in front of goal. When you have your chances, you must be calm and collected. I’m surprised he (Osimhen) is still under pressure; I think he should calm down,” Odegbami told AfroSport after Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau on Monday.
Osimhen’s goal against Equatorial Guinea was his 21st for the national team and he is now tied with Yakubu Aiyegbeni in third on Nigeria’s all-time scorers’ chart and two goals behind Odegbami, who had 23 goals for Nigeria.
The 1980 AFCON winner backed Osimhen to surpass his achievement and aim for Rashidi Yekini’s leading 37-goal mark for the country.
“The time that the record has been there shows how we have been with goalscoring but I believe Osimhen can break it,” Odegbami told our correspondent.
Odegbami was part of the Super Eagles AFCON-winning team on home soil in 1980, when he scored two goals as Nigeria beat Algeria 3-0 in the final.
Nigeria followed up the 1980 success in 1994 and 2013 and are seeking a fourth title in Ivory Coast. The Eagles are through to the round of 16 and play.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]