The Togo great is convinced that there is more to come from the Nigeria international should he continue on his present path
Former Arsenal and Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed his admiration for Napoli and Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen, Soccernet.ng reports.
Osimhen made a massive splash for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets at the FIFA U17 World Cup and Lille in Ligue 1 but only became friends with Adebayor when he was at Napoli.
Acting as his mentor, Adebayor always offered words of encouragement to Osimhen and watched with admiration as the Super Eagles star powered Napoli to a historic Scudetto in 2023.
Osimhen’s successful year was rewarded in December when he was named the Footballer of the Year at the CAF Awards in Morocco.
In his acceptance speech, Osimhen name-checked Adebayor among the players who played a part in his success story.
And the former Togo captain confessed that Osimhen’s words touched him in a way he had never felt before, something he would cherish till the end of his days.
“I started talking to him (Osimhen) one or two years (ago),” Adebayor told the BBC.
“Every time I talk to him, it’s about encouragement, and I tell him what to do and what not to do. I didn’t even know that he was listening.
“To come on a bigger stage like the Caf awards, the Ballon d’Or of Africa, and mention my name, and thank me for the encouragement… to be honest with you, I got emotional.
“And I’m a guy that doesn’t get emotional at all. But there, I didn’t have a choice.
“It was even more beautiful than when I won it myself. To be honest with you, this is how big it was.
“This will stay with me for life. If he continues in this stride, he will win more Caf awards in the future.”
Osimhen will be the favourites to retain the Player of the Year award this year should he lead Nigeria to glory at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Eagles, ranked sixth-best team on the continent, are one of the nations tipped to wrestle the championship crown from the grasp of defending champions Senegal.
Nigeria will kick off their Afcon campaign with a clash against Equatorial Guinea on January 14, with further Group A games to be played against Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau.