As the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next January draws ever closer, one topic on the lips of Super Eagles fans, commentators and stakeholders is whether recovering sharpshooter Victor Osihmen should be rushed back to feature for the Super Eagles.
Recall that the Nigerian international suffered a fractured eye socket and cheekbone after a head collision with Inter’s Milan Skriniar in a Serie A clash which ended 3-2 in favour of the Italian champions.
He was set to be sidelined for 3 months but reports now claim that the former Wolfsburg man is ready to represent Nigeria despite having to wear a protective head gear. His club are very much against him featuring for Nigeria at this time.
I think Osihmen should see out this Afcon to fully recuperate physically and mentally from all his recent mishaps. For all the best intentions in the world, rushing him back to play for Nigeria might prove counterproductive for his general and mental health and may further strain his relationship with Napoli who are his primary employer and who are vehemently against him representing Nigeria.
Napoli were starting to reap the rewards of their faith and financial investment in Osihmen before his latest bout of mishap.
I will strongly encourage him to reduce the pressure on his shoulders by strategically signing himself out of the Afcon to channel his club career back on track and introspect on his career to date.
It’s understandable why many fans would want to see Osihmen kit out for Nigeria at this Afcon. If we are to be truly brutal, Osihmen and Ndidi are the only near-world class players that the Super Eagles can boast of at this moment. He is all-action, fiery and full of punch and a most exciting center forward.
But for me, his mental and psychological well-being comes first as well as measures geared towards elongating his promising career.
And I strongly believe that mental convalescing and focus on club football (and Nigeria’s crucial world cup qualifiers in March) should be on the priority plate of Osihmen now rather than the shortsighted and somewhat blinkered intentions of seeing him feature in an Afcon having not fully recovered from recent mishaps.