Victor Osimhen has been voted Serie A Player of the Month for September by the Italian Footballers’ Association
What impressed me most about this award for Osimhen is not the award itself but how it came about.
Super Eagles rising star Victor Osimhen was unveiled as the Serie A player of the month as a result of peer review. It was fellow footballers in the Italian league who voted unanimously for Osimhen as the best among them for that month.
This is hugely significant.
On this website and several platforms last season, very many observers (including myself) suggested (rightly or imaginatively) that Osimhen was being overlooked for passed by own teammates. The conversation was traversing towards the direction of thinking that Osimhen might have made the wrong option to go to Italy.
But today, players from the same league are voting Osimhen to be the Player of the month! No doubt some players from his own club would have given the former Golden Eaglet their ‘vote of admiration, gratitude and confidence’.
This is a tremendous turnaround in fortune for a player plagued with much misfortune on his first season with Napoli: some, of his own making (like breaking Covid-19 regulations in Nigeria) and others due to external factors.
Nigeria hasn’t produced the truly elite strikers on the global stage in the last 10 years. In 2014, Emmanuel Emenike (a great striker in his own right) was based in Turkey and ranked 100 in the world by global journalists. In 2018, Odion Ighalo was the best striker in far East Asia (after being a one season wonder in England).
But Osimhen has it in him to lead Nigeria into the 2022 World Cup as one of the deadliest most ruthlessness sharpshooters on the planet. Should Nigeria fail to qualify, then Osimhen might well be one of the heavyweights that will have to see out the tournament from home: more like Samuel Eto, Didier Drogba or Nwankwo Kanu missing the mundial on their day.
And whilst I respect, adore and totally appreciate the sacrifices and contributions of Ighalo and Emenike to Nigeria’s world cup efforts, I strongly believe that Osimhen has the repertoire to ranked much higher than the two in global football.
Emenike was burly, powerful, imposing whilst Ighalo fishes for goals in a cunning way: both decent strikers on their day.
But Osimhen is supremely purposeful, pristine and precise even at this stage. He has it in him to eventually be classed among the truly great strikers like Drogba, Eto and Kanu.
He still needs to hone his killer instincts to match the first 2 whilst maturing in time to mimic Kanu’s effortless composure and vision. Indeed, when you consider how playing as a seasoned striker came to these players like second nature, you come to realise that Osimhen still has a long way to go.
But, despite his setbacks of last season, he still ended the campaign with 10 goals from 24 games (roughly 1 goal per 2 games): no greater indication of his potential ruthlessness need be sought.
This season thus far, the 22 year old centre forward has already cashed in 7 goals in 8 games across all competitions for Napoli, a taste of just what is to come.
And these are not just your run-of-the-mill tap in goals, no, no, no. Several are goals of supreme class, worthy of the grand stage against quality oppositions inside Italy and outside its shores.
Headers, belters from range, close range finishes : Osimhen leaves you yearning for more.
And more should come from this smooth operator.
Only lack of focus, a complete lackadaisical attitude and/or ill-fortune can stunt the rise of Osimhen.
Failing that, the world of international football ain’t seen nothing yet!