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Osimhen injury: Which Nigeria strikers could replace him at Afcon?

10:14 PM IST 23/11/21
Osimhen Iheanacho
With the Napoli man facing a spell on the sidelines, who could step in to replace him in Cameroon should he miss out?

  • Ighalo, Rohr

    Odion Ighalo

    Ighalo made his international recall when he was named on Gernot Rohr’s list for Nigeria's gameweek five and six matches against Liberia and Cape Verde.

    While he wasn't particularly impressive in the latter fixture, he now finds himself in pole position to replace Osimhen.

    The Napoli man was, after all, the man who replaced Ighalo to lead the line for the national side, and Ighalo did demonstrate his quality at the 2019 Nations Cup in Egypt, winning the Golden Boot in the process.

  • Kelechi Iheanacho, Nigeria

    Kelechi Iheanacho

    Unceremoniously dumped from the starting XI by Rohr as he sought to find a place for the returning Ighalo against Cape Verde, he must now welcome back Iheanacho to the starting XI with open arms.

    The Leicester City striker is just coming off the back of a fine season with the Foxes - his best in the Premier League - and the team should be built around him, rather than him being allowed to feel like an afterthought.

    With Osimhen now a doubt for the Nations Cup, Rohr must be hoping that Iheanacho can strike up a working relationship with Ighalo.

  • Paul Onuachu Genk 2021-22

    Paul Onauchu

    Already a key member of the squad, Onuachu has been given the occasional playing opportunity by Rohr, memorably scoring a late winner against Benin in last year's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

    His towering frame and unique profile make him a valuable Plan B, but would Rohr actually trust him as a starter to replace Osimhen?

  • David Okereke

    David Okereke

    While Rohr has been somewhat reluctant to give new faces the baton and integrate them into his plans, he surely must change his approach with Okereke.

    The Venezia man is on song in Serie A at the moment, taking a leaf out of Osimhen's book with winning goals in his last two matches - against AS Roma and Bologna.

    He has four in 12 so far this term, adapting well for the Italian top flight new boys, but will Rohr take a plunge?

  • Cyriel Dessers - PSV 2021-22

    Cyriel Dessers

    The forward has been breaking records at Feyenoord this season, demonstrating his quality as an impact sub with four goals off the bench since late September.

    He headed into this international break on a three-game scoring streak after settling quickly in Dutch football, and his hot form could make him valuable with the Africa Cup of Nations in view.

    The 26-year-old made his one and only appearance in October 2020.

  • Taiwo Awoniyi of Union Berlin and Nigeria.

    Taiwo Awoniyi

    It’s ridiculous that Awoniyi was overlooked for the recent international break, and what does that say about how the forward is considered in the eyes of the manager!?

    He’s in the form of his life, having scored eight goals for Union Berlin since signing from Liverpool, but has been snubbed for a player featuring in the Saudi top flight.

    With Osimhen a doubt, Rohr may regret not be cultivating Awoniyi as a key option for the Eagles in Cameroon in January.

  • Terem Moffi

    Terem Moffi

    Admittedly, Moffi isn’t exactly in as hot form this term as he was last season, but he’s nonetheless registered five goal contributions (two goals, three assists) in Ligue 1 this season.

    He’s making an impact in one of the world’s toughest leagues, having scored 14 for FC Lorient last term, but has been unceremoniously dropped from Rohr’s plans.

    That needs to change, and at 22, he’s the kind of player around whom Nigeria should be building.

  • Emmanuel Dennis of Watford and Nigeria.

    Emmanuel Dennis

    Unlike Isaac Success before him, Dennis has taken immediately to the Premier League since signing for Watford during the offseason.

    He already has nine goal involvements in 11 league outings, and was outstanding last month as Everton were dismantled 5-2.

    The 24-year-old hasn’t been called up since November 2020. It's surely a major oversight by Rohr, who now needs new blood in his forward line.

  • Simy Nwankwo Nigeria training Russia World Cup 2018

    Simy Nwankwo

    Does Rohr not realise that Simy made history, as far as Nigerian strikers are concerned, in the Italian top flight last season!?

    His 20-goal haul for Crotone made him the all-time top Nigerian scorer in Serie A, and represented the best single-season return ever for a player from the West African nation in any of the world’s major leagues.

    Ok, so he hasn’t been quite as sharp for Salernitana this term—scoring one and contributing another assist—but his unique profile and versatile contribution should put him in contention to replace Osimhen.

  • Almeria and Nigeria striker Umar Sadiq.

    Umar Sadiq

    Sadiq has been in lethal form in the Spanish second tier this season and last season.

    Already this term he has seven goals in 16 outings, having previously bagged 20 last term, representing a superb and consistent haul since arriving in Spanish football.

    A star with Nigeria’s U-23s, Sadiq could still be a key figure in Nigeria’s future.