CAN 2024: Victor Osimhen, in search of the grail, Jeune Afrique

CAN 2024: Victor Osimhen, in search of the grail

Published on February 1, 2024

Reading: 2 minutes.

He runs, harasses defenses, scores and makes scores. Victor Osimhen, best player in Africa 2023, is clearly on a mission to finally win the CAN with Nigeria.

In addition, many stars have already been eliminated from continental competition, like three of their predecessors on the winners list. player African of the Year, Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mané (Senegal) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt).

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At 25, the striker, reigning Italian champion with Napoli, was the bettors' favorite for the title of top scorer, having scored ten times during qualifying, twice as many as consist of dauphin, Mané.

Well, the man in the plastic mask has only scored once since the start of the tournament against Equatorial Guinea (1-1), but this statistic does not do justice to his performance.

It was he who caused the penalty which allowed his captain William Troost-Ekong to score the goal of the 1-0 victory against Ivory Coast and he was uncompromising in the round of XNUMX against the old Cameroonian rival, where he inspired his entire team, and constantly harassed the defense of the “Indomitable Lions” . He even offered le first goal to Ademola Lookman, author of a double that evening.

“Ask the opposing defenders”

Against Cameroon, “he didn't score but he played a fantastic match,” remarked his coach, the Portuguese José Peseiro. “It’s not easy to stop this guy!” Ask opposing defenders how many they have suffered… "

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His tireless N.9 is therefore also his first defender, since the coach focuses his strategy on not conceding goals. The number of drop runs he makes per game is impressive, even more so with the heat and humidity during la competition.

During half-time of the round of 16, he knelt on the lawn of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium, his head in his hands, visibly exhausted. However, he attacked again in the second half, unleashing the Abidjan crowd excited by such activity.

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“Osimhen plays with passion "

“Osimhen plays with passion. This is what every country expects from its players,” former Ghana star Asamoah Gyan wrote on X (ex-Twitter).

He had missed the previous CAN, due to a facial injury which meant he had to wear his famous mask, but this time he is there, ready to win the trophy.

“I really want to win something with the Super Eagles,” said the player with 21 goals in 32 caps. I won with Napoli (Italian champion, editor's note), I wrote history, but no matter what I accomplish, it doesn't matter le number of goals I have scored, if I win the CAN I will have come a long way in my life, and when I have done that, I will have achieved everything. »

However, to accomplish his mission, he will first have to win his quarter-final against Angola Friday .

(With AFP)

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