•Napoli hitman vows to devourWild dogs
By Ephraim Nwosu
Rave-of the-moment Victor Osimhen has promised to translate his club form to the national team when the Super Eagles lock horns with the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau as the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign reaches the halfway mark.
Top-of-the-table Nigeria square up to second-placed Guinea Bissau at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium from 5pm today, with both teams eyeing the full marks in order to consolidate on earlier gains towards landing in Cote d’Ivoire.
Osimhen, with 25 goals in all competitions this season, netted a significant four in a remarkable 10-0 win for Nigeria against Sao Tome and Principe in June last year, days after he had netted the winner in a 2-1 win over Sierra Leone.
With five goals, the former U17 World Cup winner and record goalscorer (with 10 goals) is among the leading marksmen in the qualifying race, and will grab his opportunities with both hands in the two matches against Guinea Bissau in order to put daylight between himself and other contenders.“We are looking forward to it,” Osimhen told the NFF Media Team. “And I am happy to be back with the squad. It’s an amazing feeling and we are really expecting an amazing result in the two-legged game against Guinea-Bissau.
“We don’t underrate our opponents. We want to equally give them the respect they deserve. The boys are ready. We have high spirits. We are ready to give our all come Friday. And also in the second leg in Guinea-Bissau. I am looking forward to the game and to contribute also to the team.
“I want to promise them (the fans) that we will do everything possible to get the win. I will like to contribute with a lot of goals and a couple of assists as well.
“But of course, the team comes first. I want to assure them that we’ll do everything to make them entertained and happy by getting a win and also getting a qualification to the Afcon, ”The 24-year-old added.
Coach José Santos Peseiro will surely put his best foot forward in only his third match, with the objective of keeping intact his hundred per cent record in competitive matches.
Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho could start in goal, and there are Semi Ajayi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kevin Akpoguma, Kenneth Omeruo, Calvin Bassey, Zaidu Sanusi and Bruno Onyemaechi to pick from for the rearguard, as well as England-based quartet Wilfred Ndidi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi and Joe Aribo in the middle of the pack.
Captain Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman, Terem Moffi and Paul Onuachu are available for the fore sector, as the Eagles aim for all six points that will super-pave their pathway to the finals.
Sierra Leone’s 2-2 draw with Sao Tome and Principe in Agadir, Morocco on Wednesday turned out a boon for the Eagles, as the Leone Stars are stuck on one point after three matches and would no longer be in the contest if Nigeria grab all six points from these two matches.
Coach Baciro Candé, who has led the Djurtus an impressive four points in their previous two games, said on arrival in Nigeria on Wednesday that his boys will play with confidence and invention.
Guinea Bissau have featured in three Africa Cup of Nations finals, making an impressive debut at the 2017 tournament in Gabon.