Victor Osimhen is a man on a mission. The Nigerian striker, who plays for Serie A champions Napoli, has set his sights on winning the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles. He spoke exclusively about his ambitions, his form, and his love for his country.
The road to glory
But the 25-year-old is hungry for more. He wants to emulate his idols, such as Nwankwo Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha, who lifted the AFCON trophy in 1994 and 2013. He believes that the current generation of Nigerian players has what it takes to conquer Africa again.
“We have a very talented and motivated squad, with a lot of quality and experience. We have a great coach in Gernot Rohr, who knows how to get the best out of us. We have a strong bond and a common goal, which is to make our nation proud. We are ready to give everything to come home with the trophy,” he said.
Osimhen has been in sensational form for both club and country this season. He scored 26 goals in 34 league games for Napoli, breaking the record for the most goals by an African player in a single Serie A season. He also won the Serie A Best Striker award and the Serie A Footballer of the Year award, becoming the first Nigerian to do so.
He has also been prolific for Nigeria, scoring 21 goals in 32 appearances, making him the joint-third all-time highest goalscorer of the national team. He scored four goals in the group stage of the AFCON, helping Nigeria qualify for the knockout stage as the top team in Group A.
He said that his success is a result of hard work, dedication, and the support of his teammates, coaches, and fans.
“I always try to improve myself, to learn from my mistakes, and to listen to the advice of my coaches. I also have a lot of confidence in myself and in my abilities. I have a great relationship with my teammates, who always help me on and off the pitch. And I have amazing fans, who always cheer me on and inspire me to do better. I’m very grateful for all of them,” he said.
The dream of a nation
Osimhen is aware of the expectations and the pressure that come with representing Nigeria at the AFCON. He knows that millions of Nigerians are watching and hoping for a positive outcome. He said that he feels honored and privileged to wear the green and white jersey, and that he wants to make his country happy.
“Nigeria is a great nation, with a rich history and culture. We have a lot of passion and love for football, which is more than just a sport for us. It is a way of life, a source of joy, and a symbol of unity. Playing for Nigeria is a dream come true for me, and I always try to give my best for my country. I want to make Nigerians smile, especially in these difficult times. I want to bring them hope and happiness,” he said.
Osimhen said that he is confident that Nigeria can go all the way and win the AFCON for the fourth time. He said that he and his teammates are focused and determined to achieve their goal, and that they will not underestimate any opponent.
“We know that the AFCON is a very tough and competitive tournament, with a lot of strong and talented teams. We respect every team that we face, but we are not afraid of anyone. We have our own strengths and our own style of play, which we believe in. We are confident in ourselves and in our abilities. We have a clear vision and a clear plan, which we will execute to the best of our abilities. We are here to win, and nothing else,” he said.
Osimhen also had a message for the Nigerian fans, who he said are the best in the world.
“I want to thank them for their incredible support and their unconditional love. They are the reason why we play, and they are the reason why we fight. They are our 12th man, and they make us stronger. We need them to keep supporting us, to keep believing in us, and to keep praying for us. Together, we can make history. Together, we can bring the trophy home,” he said.
Who is Victor Osimhen?
- Victor Osimhen is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Napoli and the Nigeria national team. He is considered one of the best strikers in the world, and one of the most influential African players of his generation.
What is AFCON 2023?
- AFCON 2023 is the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the biennial African association football tournament organised by the Confederation of African Football. It is hosted by Ivory Coast, the second time it has done so after 1984. The tournament was initially planned to take place in summer 2023, but it was postponed to January–February 2024 due to the concerns about the weather. The tournament features 24 teams, divided into six groups of four, with the top two in each group and the four best third-placed teams advancing to the knockout stage.
How can I watch AFCON 2023?
- AFCON 2023 is broadcasted by various TV channels and streaming platforms around the world. You can check the official website of CAF for the list of the official broadcasters in your region. You can also follow the live updates and the highlights of the tournament on Gurustab, the partner of AFCON 2023.