Amunike explains Victor Osimhen’s lack of goals at AFCON 2024

Nigeria legend Emmanuel Anumike believes Victor Osimhen sacrificed his goal-scoring traits to serve the team at the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) in Ivory Coast.

The 53-year-old is of the view that the Napoli striker wasn’t at his best because he often had to track back to help with the defensive work.

Osimhen enjoyed a decent outing at the AFCON and played a key role as Nigeria reached the final of the tournament.

The former Lille and Wolfsburg forward was, however, powerless to stop the Super Eagles from losing in the final against hosts Ivory Coast, who came from behind to record a 2-1 victory.

Amunike attributes Victor Osimhen’s lack of goals at AFCON to defensive work

Osimhen subsequently ended the AFCON with just one goal, which came in Nigeria’s opening group game against Equatorial Guinea.

Although the Napoli star's all-round play has often been praised, some fans have also taken his lack of goals at the tournament to mean he underperformed.

Reacting to this, Amunike – who won the AFCON with Nigeria in 1994 and scored twice in the final – said the striker may have had too much to do defensively and did not have the right players to complement him in attack.

Emmanuel Amunike interview 2019 AFCON
Credit: Icon Sport

“You know, in this AFCON, Osimhen spent a lot of time helping the team to defend. And when you have a striker that is so dangerous, move a lot, and then at the end of the day, he is coming to defend, I think it reduces his quality,” he told News Central TV, as quoted by Soccernet.ng.

“Osimhen is a player that when you look at him, moves a lot and needs players that can actually, you know, give him those balls into spaces where he can become effective and functional.

“Chukwueze and Simon Moses likewise, but of course, you must have players that can complement the effort of these players.”

Victor Osimhen missing from CAF’s AFCON 2024 XI

Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen was one of the high-profile players missing from the Confederation of Africa Football’s (CAF) Best XI of the tournament.

The Napoli striker’s one goal in the AFCON was not enough to earn him a place in the CAF Best XI, which is led by the attacking trio of Emilio Nsue, Ademola Lookman and Yoane Wissa.

The Super Eagles are, however, represented by three players in the team of the tournament, with Ola Aina and William Troost-Ekong joining Lookman in there.

In the goalkeeping position, South Africa’s Ronwen Williams once again beat Nigeria’s Stanley Nwabali to it after earlier scooping the Golden Glove, while Ghislain Konan and Chancel Mbemba also make the back four.

Ivory Coast duo Franck Kessie and Jean Michael Seri are also complemented by Bafana Bafana’s Teboho Mokoena in the middle of the park.

Amunike explains Victor Osimhen’s lack of goals at AFCON 2024
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.