Nigeria vs Cameroon: Osimhen declares WAR on Indomitable Lions

Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has said the Super Eagles are determined to do their talking on the pitch when they face Cameroon in the round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024).

Jose Peseiro’s side qualified for the knockout stage of the tournament after finishing second in Group A, which contained hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

Despite ending the group phase with seven points after winning two games and drawing the other, Nigeria were beaten to the top spot by Equatorial Guinea following a superior goal difference.

Victor Osimhen Super Eagles
Photo by Icon Sport

While the Super Eagles are favourites going into the last 16 clash against Cameroon on Saturday, January 27, Osimhen insists they’ll be leaving no stone unturned.

“I understand many people are reminding us about the last tournament and leaving at this same stage. There is no second chance in knockout football. You win or go home,” the Napoli forward told BBC Sport.

Osimhen declares war on Cameroon

Osimhen was part of the last Nigeria team that defeated Cameroon at the AFCON in 2019 but missed the last edition of the tournament.

However, the 25-year-old believes the unity and togetherness within the current group puts them in a good position to beat the Indomitable Lions.

He acknowledged the desire of all Nigerians to see the Super Eagles lift their fourth continental crown and said he and his teammates will be going to war against Rigobert Song’s side.

“We are determined to win and we want to do the talking on the pitch and outside. We all go to war together as team-mates, as brothers, as Nigerians, and there is nothing our people want more than for us to win,” Osimhen stated.

Osimhen happy with AFCON 2024 contributions

The Super Eagles talisman, who is the reigning CAF Footballer of the Year, also responded to criticism surrounding his performances at the AFCON.

Victor Osimhen declares war on Cameroon
Photo by Icon Sport

Despite starting each game so far, Osimhen has been very wasteful in front of goal and, according to Whoscored.com, he has missed the most chances among all the Nigerian players.

However, reacting to this, the former Wolfsburg and Lille striker said he’s more critical of himself than anyone, admitting that his one goal in three games hasn’t been good enough for a player of his status.

He was, however, quick to add that he’s happy with his general contributions to the team despite not scoring much in the tournament. According to him, it means more to be able to lead and inspire his teammates than just scoring goals.

“I have one goal in three games – not so good for my kind of person but of course, I'm still a work in progress. This is my first proper AFCON. I think I still have a long way to go, which is normal, and I have so much in store for me to give to the team,” Osimhen added.

“Before anyone comes out to criticise me, I am my first critic. But so far, so good. I've been doing well even though the goals are not coming yet. I think I've been able to show my support to my teammates, working hard for them, chasing every ball, defending for them and motivating them also.

“I think this is one of the most important things as one of the leaders in the team, and I'm happy with my contribution so far.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria are targeting their first AFCON title in a decade, having last won the trophy in 2013.

The Super Eagles will, however, have to get past Cameroon first on Saturday when they face the Indomitable Lions at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

Avatar photo
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.