Morakinyo Abodunrin


Super Eagles star striker and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer, Odion Ighalo, has finally endorsed OSC Lille youngster Victor Osimhen his successor in the famous green and white colours.

Ighalo wore Nigeria’s badge with pride and remarkably scored 16 goals in 35 matches between 2015 and 2019. But he drew the curtain on his international career in June after his goals clinched bronze for the Super Eagles at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

“Yes they (the Super Eagles) did well and I’m happy for them,” the 27-year-old Ighalo, currently enjoying his Indian Summer in the Chinese Super League with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, exclusively said in an interview with NationSport after the Super Eagles double victories over Benin and Lesotho.

Incidentally, Osimhen turned out to be the star of the 2021 AFCON Match Day 1 and 2 double headers as he scored half of the team’s six goals much to the delight of his illustrious predecessor.

“Yes, he (Victor Osimhen) can step in (to my shoes) and even do much better because he’s young and still has a on his side,” Ighalo agreed. “I’ll always advise him; and I’m happy he’s doing well and being from my state of origin, Edo State, makes me happier that he’s taking over from me in the national team.”

Osimhen, according to Ighalo, is amongst the new set of players that would give Nigerians great things to cheer about in the foreseeable future even as he advised the new Turks in the Super Eagles to keep their feet on ground.

“They are very good players, young and still have more years to show the world what they can do,” noted Ighalo.”But my advice to them is to still be humble and keep working hard; and shouldn’t get carried away with success now.”

Overtime, the Super Eagles have been blessed with talismanic strikers including late Rashid Yekini, Segun Odegbami, Obafemi Martins and Kanu Nwankwo.

Though Yekini’s remains the Super Eagles’ standard bearer with a record 37 goals in 58 appearances, it is inevitable, the 20-year-old Osimhen who has now scored four goals in nine  matches for the Super Eagles, remains confident about his own potentialities.

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“I believe I can achieve all that I conceive in my mind with focus and that means, I have to continue to hustle and believe that God will certainly bless my efforts,”  Osimhen, the record FIFA U-17 World Cup record goalscorer of 10 goals in seven matches at Chile 2015, hinted in a file interview with NationSport.