Super Eagles and Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen, is impressed with the growing competition for places in Nigeria’s striking department, after commending his Eagles teammates – Paul Onuachu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Sadiq Umar, who are presently having impressive form this season in Europe.
Onuachu scored a brace for his Belgian side, Genk in their 3-2 loss at Royal Antwerp, to continue his scoring form last weekend. It was Onuachu’s sixth goal in five games, and his ninth in 10 games for his club which has taken his goal tally in the league to 29 for the season and 33 in all competitions.
Also, Iheanacho has scored 10 goals in his last seven appearances for the Leicester City including his lone strike in the FA Cup semifinal last weekend while Umar netted his 16th goal of the season for Spanish Segunda division side, Almeria, over the weekend, as they continue their push for promotion to La Liga.
In all, Osimhen says it is a good omen for the national team.
“I think they are all doing quite well — Paul Onuachu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Sadiq Umar,” he told ESPN. “Of course I am happy for them and I’m happy about their form.
“And of course, being able to capitalize on their current form for the national team is really important. Kelechi has been doing quite well and he has been scoring goals. Onuachu also, I think he’s the leading goalscorer in Europe which is very important”.
“He gave us the winning goal in the game against Benin Republic. It shows that we can capitalize on their form and count on them.”
However, with his compatriots scoring so freely for their clubs in Europe, Osimhen who has a tally of five league goals for his club this season is not taking his teammates performances for granted and acknowledges it is up to him to do what it takes to keep his spot in Coach Gernot Rohr’s team.
“Of course, for me I just need to keep on working hard, keep on doing well for my club and for the Super Eagles also in order to remain the number one and if I’m called upon I think I will give my all and I think this is really important,” he said.
‘It’s not for me, it’s not for my individual glory, it’s for the team, which is really good and I think the rest of the strikers are also ready to take the spot so I have to keep working hard.”
Despite Onuachu’s rush of goals in Europe, he only recently earned redemption by scoring a late winner against Benin Republic in the AFCON qualifiers, before adding to Nigeria’s win over Lesotho.
But, Osimhen says Eagles players were genuinely elated for the forward’s resurgence in form.
“If you have seen the highlights you can see how happy everyone was for Paul. For me, he is a great striker, he is one that possesses a lot of qualities not just in the air, but, also on the ground with his speed”.
“Every one of us was really happy for him after he scored. When he came to the dressing room, he got a round of applause from the whole squad, and he deserved it. For me, I’m really and I’m genuinely happy for him. And I think he’s going to continue to build on from there. And I wish him the very best”, Osimhen said.
With the display of formidable goalscoring status by Super Eagles strikers, Osimhen believes it surely puts the Eagles in good position to claim AFCON glory.
“I think we’ve got everything we need to win the next AFCON and to go even more further to qualify for the World Cup because this is a squad that has extremely wonderful talents from the goalkeepers to the strikers, from the strikers to the bench,” he added.
“Also, of course, we have a very good coach and technical staff that can prepare us well for each game as it comes. And I think for us we have individual players who can individually win games for us, the likes of Kelechi, Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, myself, Paul and rest of the of the squad.
“And I know of course, that a lot is being expected from this team regardless of the fact that we’re young. I think with what we got on our side we can really go far as well as winning the AFCON,” Osimhen concluded.