Super Eagles players and coaches have officially honoured Victor Osimhen at the team’s Abu Dhabi camp, after winning the men’s African Player of the Year (POTY) award.
Osimhen became the first Nigerian after Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 to win the CAF POTY award as the best player on the continent in December.
This was after he powered Napoli to their first Scudetto title in 33 years and topping the goalscorer chart during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign.
However, since Osimhen’s triumph at the CAF award ceremony, the Super Eagles had not met as a team.
Nigeria’s last engagement was in November when the Super Eagles, who had Osimhen out injured, were forced to two consecutive 1-1 draws by Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Super Eagles are, however, gathered in their training camp in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, as they step up preparations for the AFCON in Cote d Ivoire this month.
The national team camp opened on Tuesday, with 24 out of the 25 invited players already working with head coach Jose Peseiro.
Only Leicester City’s striker Kelechi Iheanacho is being awaited as he recovers from an injury threatening his participation at the tournament.
Osimhen and William Troost-Ekong were among the last players to arrive in camp.
The team’s first dinner together on Friday, therefore presented the Super Eagles the perfect opportunity to officially congratulate the current African king.
A video shared on the team’s official X account on Saturday, saw Patrick Pascal, the team’s coordinator, call out Osimhen for special recognition.
He was honoured with a standing ovation and resounding claps by his teammates and officials.
“On behalf of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau, the board members, the coach, team officials, the Captain and the players of the Super Eagles, please help me welcome the king, Osimhen ,” Pascal said.
He officially welcomed Osimhen and praised him for winning the prestigious award, adding that the NFF as well as the entire country was proud of his achievements.
Prayers were thereafter offered to thank God for giving him the victory.
NAN also reports that Osimhen will be Nigeria’s primary goal outlet when proceedings kick off at the 34th edition of the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Napoli forward was Nigeria’s most prolific goalscorer in 2023.
As the best striker on the continent, he will be expected to lead the Super Eagles’ charge for a fourth continental crown.
Osimhen could become the first Nigerian player since Rashidi Yekini to win the AFCON as the Best Player on the continent.
The 2023 AFCON which kicks off on Jan. 13 will end on Feb. 11.(NAN)