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Afcon 2021: Napoli star Osimhen supported Senegal after Nigeria were eliminated by Tunisia

11:14 GMT+3 09/02/2022
Victor Osimhen
The 23-year-old Super Eagle explains his decision to rally behind the Lions of Teranga who eventually beat Egypt on penalties to lift title

Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has revealed the reason he switched allegiance to support Senegal after Nigeria were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The 23-year-old was not part of the Super Eagles squad that participated in the 33rd edition of the continental finals and failed to get past the Round of 16 after losing 1-0 against Tunisia.

Osimhen, who recently started his first Serie A game since picking up an injury in the clash against Inter Milan on November 21, 2021, has explained his support for eventual winners Senegal when responding to a question of the toughest defender he has ever faced in his career.

Senegal, led by coach Aliou Cisse, needed penalties to beat Egypt 4-2 after 120 minutes of play produced a 0-0 result at Olembe Stadium, to lay their hands on the title for the first time in history.

“[Cristian] Romero, who is now at Tottenham,” Osimhen said as quoted by Football Italia. “He was always faster than me every time we faced each other.

“The other one is Kalidou Koulibaly, he never let me score in training. When Nigeria were eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations, I supported Senegal.”

Osimhen also did not hide his admiration for Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

“I like Drogba, but not just as a footballer,” Osimhen claimed. “I like leaders and he was it on and off the pitch, where it counts the most. He has a personality that I admire.”


“You may not see him, but he is always there and makes everything look so easy, especially scoring goals.”

On his career from Africa to Europe, Osimhen said: “I must say that I am quite fed up with those who consider African players like victims.

“There aren’t just sad stories; we are good footballers who want to improve. I was poor as a kid, but now it’s different. Otherwise, you nail me to a past that I do not forget, but that does not take into account what I’ve become.”

The striker also spoke about scoring his first goal with a protective mask after his head injury, in the 2-0 victory against Venezia.


“I felt like my face had exploded," he added.

“I touched my face and I couldn’t feel anything. I was even struggling to sleep. However, I’ve worked hard on my recovery with the desire to improve as much as possible. I’ve tried to return as soon as possible without feeling sorry for myself.”

Osimhen, who has so far managed six goals from 14 appearances in Serie A this campaign, will hope to keep his starting role when the Parthenopeans welcome table-toppers Inter at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Saturday.