Victor Osimhen says he welcomes the competition for places in the Nigeria national team.
The Napoli striker has praised fellow strikers Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu and Sadiq Umar as they enjoy fine form in Europe.
Over the weekend, Onuachu continued his superb form, hitting a brace for Genk in their 3-2 loss at Royal Antwerp. It was his sixth goal in five games for the Belgian club.
The goals took the forward’s tally to 33 in all competitions, including the two he scored for Nigeria during the last international break in March.
Iheanacho has had his career ups and downs, but is now enjoying a good season with Leicester City in the Premier League. The former junior international has scored 10 goals in his last seven appearances for the Foxes.
Umar scored his 16th goal of the season for Spanish Segunda Division side Almeria over the weekend, as they continue their push for promotion to La Liga.
All of these performances have impressed Osimhen, who has established himself as Gernot Rohr’s first-choice striker. Speaking to ESPN Africa, the forward says he welcomes the competition, and says it is good for the national team.
“I think they are all doing quite well, Paul Onuachu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Sadiq Umar. Of course I am happy for them and I’m happy about their form.
“Being able to capitalize on their current form for the national team is really important. Kelechi has been doing quite well and he has been scoring goals. Onuachu also, I think he’s the leading goal scorer in Europe which is very important.
“He gave us the winning goal in the game against Benin Republic. It shows that we can capitalize on their form and count on them.”
With his compatriots scoring so freely for their clubs in Europe, Osimhen’s tally of five league goals for the season is a big worry, but this is due to a number of circumstances including moving to a new club, injuries and illness. These all played a big part in his slow start to life in Naples.
On the other hand, his five goals in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, as joint top scorer with Zambia’s Patson Daka, justifies Rohr’s faith in him.
He, however, is taking none of that for granted and acknowledges that it is up to him to do what it takes to keep his spot.
“Of course, for me I just need to keep on working hard, keep on doing well for my club and for the Super Eagles also in order to remain the number one and if I’m called upon I think I will give my all and I think this is really important.
“It’s not for me, it’s not for my individual glory, it’s for the team, which is really good and I think the rest of the strikers are also ready to take the spot so I have to keep working hard.”
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By Prince Sobayeni