So near, yet so far, as apprehension hits the Super Eagles, with Victor Osimhen crying to the heavens for divine help as they lean towards the threshold of history.
The Super Eagles are on the cusp of adding a fourth AFCON title to the harem for Nigeria, and none understands its implications better than Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo.
Perhaps tales of glory days by these duo sit as a motivation for this set of players. While Osimhen may not have lit the tournament with goals, none can fault his industry and effort, as he has propelled the team towards glory.
Now, one game stands between the Super Eagles and glory, with Osimhen eager to etch his name alongside his colleagues in Nigeria football’s sands of time.
Osimhen wants the Super Eagles to go into the AFCON 2023 final against the hosts with a killer mindset. He wants the team to reenact the Mike Tyson glory days.
Let’s finish the final in 90 minutes – Osimhen
After the scare of the Super Eagles against the Bafana Bafana in the semi-final of AFCON 2023, Osimhen does not think the side can stomach another lengthy slugfest.
Bafana Bafana stretched the Super Eagles into a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes of gruelling enterprise.
With an unfriendly weather, it was the first game the Super Eagles would play at AFCON 2023 beyond 90 minutes.
Osimhen, who said he is not under pressure to perform, has told his teammates that they must finish the final within 90 minutes.
According to reports from the Super Eagles camp, the team is putting everything in the engine for one last push, and Osimhen is at the forefront of it all.
Former Arsenal defender, Kolo Toure has hailed Super Eagles star Victor Osimhen ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, final clash with Ivory Coast on Sunday.
Toure said Osimhen is super powerful, adding that the Napoli attacker is quick. pic.twitter.com/9pj0D2LoNR
— HBx (@hbxtra) February 10, 2024
He is motivated for the game and is eager to win the trophy. It will etch his name in Nigeria football folklore.
What a story it would be for the boy from Olusosun, who hawked gala, water and sold newspapers in Ojota to stand with his colleagues at the pinnacle of African football.
Osimhen and the Super Eagles are drained
Jose Peseiro found a formula that has worked for the Super Eagles. He has turned the team from Super Chickens to a band of soaring, roaring Eagles.
Once again, the team has regained its place in African football, but there is still one more step to take. Peseiro wants to become the fourth and third foreign coach to win AFCON for Nigeria.
It has not come easy. It has come at a cost, as the formula by Peseiro has been effort-consuming and draining, but Osimhen believes they have enough in the tank to finish the game within regulation time.
The players are tired, mentally and physically drained. They have played six physically and mentally draining games in four weeks, with the final the seventh.
We Feast Tomorrow.
Soar Super Eagles pic.twitter.com/KCRxmuSptQ
— Ihembuchukwu Andrew Paulinus (@andysuek) February 10, 2024
If the Super Eagles win AFCON 2023, it would have been well-deserved, as the players have left blood and tears on the pitch, but overcoming the hosts on such an occasion would be arduous.
The Super Eagles beat the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the group stage. Though Osimhen did not score that day, he looks forward to winning the trophy on a high.
Perhaps he will finish the tournament as he started – with a goal.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago