It has been far from an ideal start to the new season for Africa’s most expensive player Victor Osimhen. The 22-year-old striker went into the new season with full optimism, but it has been a disappointing start so far.
Osimhen had scored eight goals in five preseason games for Napoli to put the troubles of his first year at the club behind him.
The former Lille striker scored ten league goals in 24 games for Napoli last season, but his year was also marred by injuries and coronavirus.
While ten goals in 24 league games is a decent return, Napoli fans expect more from a striker that cost a club and African record fee of 81.3m euros, including add-ons.
Nonetheless, the eight goals he scored in pre-season games, including two against Bayern Munich, raised fans hopes for the new season.
But Osimhen’s season got off to a bad start as he was sent off 23 minutes into Napoli’s opening Serie A match against Venezia.
The former Golden Eaglets star was sent off for shoving Daan Heymans as Napoli played in a corner. Osimhen subsequently received a two-match ban for his dismissal, although Napoli have lodged an appeal to reduce the ban to just one game.
Still, the dismissal is not the best way to start the season for the youngster. However, Osimhen still has enough time to turn the season around, starting with the game against Cape Verde today.
The former Wolfsburg striker is currently on international duty with Nigeria, and it could be the boost he needs for a successful season with Napoli.
He played in Nigeria’s opening 2022 World Cup qualifier against Liberia but failed to make an impact as the Super Eagles won 2-0, courtesy of a brace from Iheanacho.
The striker had a below-par performance by his standards and even missed a one-on-one. But the good news is that he has another opportunity to kick-start his season against the Blue Sharks.
Nigeria will be missing a host of key players for the game, which means all eyes will be on Osimhen. The goalscoring burden will rest heavily on his shoulders, especially with the likes of Iheanacho and Iwobi absent from the game.
The Super Eagles go into the clash with a depleted squad and face the difficult task of making it two wins out of two in their group.
However, it presents the perfect opportunity for Osimhen to show his quality and lead the team to victory. It would be difficult as he’s likely to have a limited supply of quality service due to the lack of creativity in Nigeria’s midfield.
But for a striker of his quality, he doesn’t need so many chances to do the damage.
It has been a disappointing start to the new campaign for the young striker, but a brilliant performance at the Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena in Mindelo on Tuesday could be the springboard for a successful season.