This is a tricky question. On the one hand, it would be easy for me to argue (as I have done recently) that Osimhen’s teammates are starving him of much needed service. But this excuse runs the risk of ringing hollow and going stale in the global football community. After all, neutral observers would argue that I am merely crying wolf for an underperforming striker who happens to be failing to live up to the hype and who crucially happens to be a fellow Nigerian.
Whilst there can be nothing wrong in defending my country man, I also want to fight shy of peddling baseless conspiracy theories. Still, as much as I would distance myself from sensationalism, I will also align myself closer to the school of thought that Napoli’s attack line is made up for glory hunters who want to write their own names in the stars and make headlines – if possible – ahead of others.
Insigne (10 goals), Lazano (10 goals), Politano (7 goals), Mertens (5 goals) and Zielinski (5 goals) are all deadly determined to get in on Napoli’s goals scoring act and their returns individually and combined this season plainly attest to this assertion. And you can see it in the way their philosophy plays out on the field of play.
With that many goals-glory hunters in a team’s forward line, inevitably, the centre forward’s slice of the goals pie will be reduced. See Nigeria for example, the minute Amokachi, Amuneke, Finidi and Okocha delivered themselves from the iron grip of Westerhof in 1994, Yekini’s goals started to dry up (and theirs increased).
Like I said in a prior presentation, I will be reluctant to attribute wrongdoing to professional Italian footballers. That said, from what I see from the way they play, Osimhen’s return in front of goal has the potential to be greatly diminished.
See a typical example in the 2nd goal conceded by Napoli against Granada in this week’s Europa League match: instead of Politano (from the wings in 20 minutes) locating Osimhen and 2 other players inside the 18 yard box, he elected to run himself into trouble, only to lose the ball and Granada punishing his selfishness with a goal straight from the counter-attack.
That summarises Napoli’s attack line: more often, individual players seeking to make things happen for themselves at the expense of the team.
I don’t envy Osimhen’s position. He is surrounded by big name players who want to improve their own goals-haul. I am not peddling any conspiracy theories but if Napoli attackers aren’t more selfless, then, as a team they can expect to witness more nights like the disappointing 2:0 loss to Granada in the Europa league this week.
Copyright notice: unauthorized use of this material is strictly prohibited.
Copyright Notice: unauthorised copying of this material is strictly prohibited.