The Napoli striker was a terror to defenders in 2023 and he could kick off the new year with an excellent outing at the continental championship
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has tipped Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen to excel at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, Soccernet.ng reports.
24 nations and scores of the continent’s best players have gathered in several Ivorian cities as Africa’s biggest football festival begins today (Saturday), January 13, 2024.
Osimhen is the reigning African Footballer of the Year and one of the stars expected to lighten up the AFCON with his goals.
The 25-year-old scored 26 league goals to power Napoli to a historic Scudeto title last year.
He was also the top goalscorer during the AFCON qualifcation campaign with his ten goals five more than that of his closest challenger, Zambia and Leicester City’s Patson Daka.
And South African tactician Mokwena believes that Osimhen would be one of the outstanding stars of the 34th edition of the AFCON.
“Victor Osimhen is one player who is in great form and we have seen his abilities in front of goal. He leads the line confidently and scores lots of great goals and in tournaments like this you need goals,” Mokwena told Times Live.
“I also think Achraf Hakimi is an exceptional player who can change the course of games in several ways. Mohammed Kudus is another game changer who I expect to impress at the tournament.”
While, Osimhen will lead the line for Nigeria, the Super Eagles are going through a terrible striker crisis.
Key players Umar Sadiq and Victor Boniface have suffered injuries and have had to withdraw from the competition.
Nigeria’s head coach Jose Peseiro has called up Terem Moffi and Paul Onuachu as their replacement.
Still, the three-time winners remain hopeful of gunning for a fourth AFCON and Mokwena is convinced that the Super Eagles remain one of the favourites to wrestle the title from defending champions, Senegal.
“Nigeria will always be favourites because they have several top players and they are never pushovers when it comes to the tournament,” said Mokwena.
“Morocco is another team I believe will do well because they have a great coach, a great squad and we saw their exploits at the last World Cup.
“Egypt can also be considered a big threat in the competition as they have the pedigree and know-how to win the title. I also tip Ghana and Senegal to be strong contenders and I think Ivory Coast will also make it to the last eight.”
Nigeria begin their AFCON campaign with a clash against Equatorial Guinea at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday, 14 January 2024.