The different roles of Victor Osimhen in the Super Eagles' nest

The different roles of Victor Osimhen in the Super Eagles' nest

Nigerian national team head coach Jose Peseiro has highlighted the key role that African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen plays in this Super Eagles team, on the eve of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final.

 Osimhen, who has scored only one goal and provided three assists at this AFCON, his work for the team has been more than just about finding the back of the net.

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The Bafana Bafana defenders will attest, after he sprinted 60m, to win that penalty against Mothobi Mvala. Peseiro talks about the different roles of Osimhen in this tournament.

 ''I think you must have seen in the match - they fought for the win. Osimhen did his best, because he knows he is a very important player for the team. He suffered many contacts, pressure and stress,'' said Peseiro

 Playing in his third AFCON tournament since 2019, Osimhen’s responsibility is more than the previous tournaments this time around.

 The attention on the Super Eagles’s three-man attack has been more concentrated on the Napoli forward by the defenders, allowing players like Ademola Lookman, who is the leading goal scorer for Nigeria in this tournament to shine.

Peseiro says the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup champion, also knows that it’s all about the collective in this Super Eagles team.

''But he knows that everyone in the team works hard to help him, he helps the team too. It is all about playing as a collective and fighting together,'' added Peseiro.

 It was only five months ago when Peseiro signed his new contract with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), and it came with a huge salary reduction.

 There were also suggestions at the time - the NFF was not entirely happy with him and could be looking for a replacement. But a few months later, the well-traveled Portuguese-born coach is on the verge of steering Nigeria to its fourth AFCON title and he’s not surprised with the work they have done with this project.

 A sea of orange jerseys are expected to dominate the stands tomorrow as the Elephants chase their third AFCON title and the first on home soil, something they could not achieve 40 years ago when they last hosted this tournament.

 Peseiro says it will be about the mental strength of his players in what is likely to be a sold-out venue at Stade Alassane Ouattara.

''The stadium will be full, it's going to be tough but it will be a good atmosphere. We are preparing the team to have mental balance and motivation ahead of the final,'' he concluded.