Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen’s buoyant start to life at Napoli has been a source of optimism for Nigerian football fans. Certainly, the best is still to come for the most expensive Nigerian footballer of all time.

Osimhen will be returning for Nigeria’s first competitive match since scoring three times against Benin and Lesotho a year ago.

After two insipid stalemates in friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia in October, the group L top-scorer is expected to lead the line which represents a timely boost for Nigeria. In his absence, the team struggled to develop attacking chemistry elsewhere as Paul Onuachu could not make his mark while Cyriel Dessers was disappointingly offered one cameo appearance.

The Super Eagles top their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualification group with six points from two games and face Sierra Leone in a double-header. Victory on Friday and next Tuesday would secure early qualification to the showpiece tournament and a brilliant end to 2020.

Betway Nigeria

The onus, then, is on Osimhen to supply the firepower needed for this double assault.

The 21-year-old has two goals and an assist in six Serie A outings thus far, scoring a headed winner in the 1-nil win over Bologna last time out. 

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen can fire Nigeria to AFCON 2022 qualification in the November International break. (Getty Images)

Interestingly, he has been operating around the same level of efficiency at registering goal contributions (0.77 xG+xA per 90 minutes) as his time at Lille (0.71 xG+xA). The striker is gradually finding his feet in Italy as his big presence has been apparent on the team who have yet to establish a supply line for their number nine. In truth, Napoli have registered a 54% pass success rate when finding Osimhen.

“I’m happy to be back in the squad, I’m really happy and I think the squad is ready to go on Friday,” Osimhen told reporters in Benin.

“Nigerians should expect nothing but victory but to be realistic the game will never be easy so we have to prepare well which we have been doing and we will give our all for this win.”

The Super Eagles are clear favourites but must be cautious of the giant scalp which has become commonplace in African football in recent years. 

A massive head-to-head dominance of this fixture (nine victories and three draws in 14 games) suggests Nigeria will wallop the group’s bottom side. However, it is the sort of game Osimhen needs to maintain his run of confidence with some goals. 

It could not be better timed, it appears. As the crown jewel of Nigerian football takes aim at the Leone stars.

He seeks the kind of performance that could kickstart a frenzy for club and country. 


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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