Can Osimhen retain number 9 shirt for Super Eagles?
Approaching 2018 World Cup, there was a mini-crisis; it appeared that we did not have credible centre forwards. Our most potent striker at the time, Odion Ighalo, was playing and scoring in a subpar league and – in any event – wasn’t entirely potent for Nigeria. But that is not where we are now. With quality options coming up left, right and center, it is indeed what a difference that 1 year can make! Osimhen was handed the number 9 baton after Ighalo – who would banish the ghost of his ghastly World Cup miss against Argentina to subsequently become one of Nigeria’s most lethal finishers – retired. There were trepidations in some quarters that Osimhen might not be quite ready yet or that it might take take time for him to hit the ground running. Much to the surprise of many, Osimhen proved he was born ready! He not only hit the ground running, he caused earthquakes with performances that have made him a weapon of mass casualties! 4 goals in 4 games for the Super Eagles after retirement of his incumbent (Ighalo) is just mad! Talk about proving skeptics wrong! However, with such a blistering start to his post-Ighalo Super Eagles career, has Osimhen done enough to cement his place as Nigeria’s automatic number 9? The Under 17 World Cup winner has done enough however, unlike last year, quality options are emerging by the day. Josh Maja had a performance of a lifetime recently with quality goals for his club. There is talk about lethal Cyril Dessers playing for Nigeria. Chuba Akpom is rumoured to be going through the FIFA formalities of switching to Nigeria whilst Sadiq Umar has discovered his scoring boots in East Europe. There is also the little business of Iheanacho who echoed a rap song by Tupac recently with his performance in the EPL proving that ‘he ain’t dead yet!’ Yes,Osimhen is doing the business for club and country however, make no mistake about it, we now have quality options breathing down his neck! If he snoozes, he loses the number 9 slot. Osimhen, more that ever, has to always be on top of his game.