Osimhen not concerned about lack of goals as Nigeria march on at AFCON

AFP , Saturday 3 Feb 2024

Nigeria star Victor Osimhen insisted he does not care about his lack of goals at the Africa Cup of Nations after the Super Eagles beat Angola 1-0 on Friday to progress to the semi-finals.

Nigeria s forward #9 Victor Osimhen reacts after picking up an injury during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 quarter-final football match between Nigeria and Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on February 2, 2024. Photo: AFP

They came out on top in the last-eight tie at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan thanks to a solitary Ademola Lookman goal late in the first half.

Osimhen found the net a quarter of an hour from the end when he headed in a Lookman free-kick, but that effort was disallowed for offside.

"Those who know me, they know I don't put myself before the team. If my goal comes, they come," the Napoli striker told broadcaster Canal Plus Afrique.

"I want to help the team with goals of course, but if I am not scoring I am defending. If I am not defending I am fighting for them.

"I just want my team to be in the right mentality to win this tournament.

"It is a big prize for us, as an individual and also as a country. So I think we have the right mentality to make sure we bring the trophy home."

Nigeria now advance to a semi-final against either Cape Verde or South Africa next Wednesday in Bouake as they remain on track to claim a fourth continental title and first since 2013.

"We had to make sure we went into the competition with the right mentality," added Osimhen, who was substituted in stoppage time after taking several knocks over the course of the match.

"We have the quality, we have the squad to win games and to reach the final for me."

Atalanta forward Lookman, the former England Under-21 international, has rather stolen the limelight from Osimhen, his winner against Angola coming after he scored both goals in the 2-0 defeat of Cameroon in the last 16.

Osimhen, meanwhile, has not found the net since Nigeria's opening 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea.

Moses Simon, who set up Lookman's goal and was named man of the match, said the Nigerian players were not worried about their star forward's lack of goals.

"The mood is very good in the camp. We don't even think about this and I believe he doesn't think about scoring," Simon remarked.

"He thinks about victory. If he has the opportunity he will score. But the important thing to say is we just want to win, we don't care who scores."

Coach Jose Peseiro added: "I am very happy with my players. They deserve it.

"They do everything for me, for the Super Eagles, for the 220 million people. They fight, they fight, they fight. It is not easy this tournament."

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