Who is the more influential striker for their countries – Victor Osimhen or Vincent Aboubakar?
When Nigeria and Cameroon step onto the pitch for their Round of 16 clash at the Africa Cup of Nations, all eyes will be on two players who have consistently carried their teams in the recent past, eagerly anticipating their impact on the match.
The Indomitable Lions will see the return of captain and striker Aboubakar, who has been absent from all the games due to injury but has now been declared fit for the crucial encounter against Nigeria.
Aboubakar, the top scorer in the current Lions team, aims to lead his side to victory.
Conversely, the Super Eagles will once again turn to Osimhen as their primary goal-scoring threat.
Osimhen vs Aboubakar – strikers battle for supremacy
AFCON 2024 has been relatively quiet for both accomplished international strikers, though for different reasons. Aboubakar has been sidelined for all of Cameroon's matches due to injury.
Meanwhile, Osimhen has started in all three games for the Super Eagles, finding the net once, much to the chagrin of Nigerian fans.
His performances have, however, been overshadowed by numerous missed chances during the group stage, sparking discussions about his form and the impact of transfer rumours, which he has dismissed.
In Aboubakar's absence, Cameroon demonstrated their scoring depth, with five different players contributing to their goal tally. In contrast, Nigeria struggled in front of goal, scoring three times, including Osimhen's goal in the opening game against Equatorial Guinea, a spot-kick, and an own goal.
Osimhen or Aboubakar: Veteran or young upstart?
At 32, Aboubakar is on the cusp of earning a century of caps for Cameroon. Having scored 37 goals in 97 games, he played a pivotal role in Cameroon's 2017 AFCON-winning squad and boasts an impressive record of eight goals in the Africa Cup of Nations since his debut in 2015.
Osimhen, 24, is making only his second appearance at the AFCON. Serving as an understudy to Odion Ighalo in 2019 and missing the last edition in Cameroon due to injury, he has emerged as Nigeria's main attacking force in the last two years.
The top scorer in qualification with 10 goals, Osimhen has 21 goals in 31 matches for Nigeria to cement his position as the Super Eagles top man in attack, a position Peseiro will want him to prove worthy of against Cameroon.
Despite high expectations for Osimhen as a potential top scorer at AFCON 2024, he has yet to find his rhythm in the tournament.
With Aboubakar returning for Cameroon, the upcoming match promises to be a closely contested encounter. Both strikers, pivotal figures for their national teams, will be eager to make a significant impact.
While Rigobert Song managed without Aboubakar in the previous matches, the return of his top scorer adds strength to the squad.
On the Nigerian side, coach Jose Peseiro will be hoping that Osimhen, his lethal marksman, will finally break through and deliver the much-needed goals against their arch-rivals.