Bayer Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface was effusive in his praise for Victor Osimhen after the Napoli forward helped the Super Eagles to a deserved 2-0 victory over perennial Africa Cup of Nations rivals Cameroon by providing an assist in the encounter.
Osimhen stole the headlines after the hard-fought Round of 16 cash with a typically lethal performance that saw the current African Footballer of the Year help his team rally past Rigobert Song's physical side.
Boniface took to his official X (formerly Twitter) page to pay tributes to his teammate and wrote – “Respect brother, Osimhen”, and that post even earned a response from the official CAF handle.
Also heaping praises on his teammate was newly re-signed Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis, who said it is almost like cheating to have the Scudetto winner on the field.
Napoli fans know all about Osimhen's prowess after he won the Golden Boot in Italy last year with 26 goals, and is the highest-scoring African in Serie A history.
Osimhen illustrates his ‘cheat code'
Osimhen, who is considered one of the best strikers in the world, was in full ‘beast mode', showing off his usual attributes of pace, strength and athleticism inside the Félix Houphouët Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
From the blast of the whistle, till he was subbed off late on, he was the big difference for Nigeria. Despite not scoring, he orchestrated the opener, muscling his way past the defender Oumar Gonzalez, picked up the loose ball and threaded it to Ademola Lookman, who shot past Fabrice Ondoa in goal from close range to give Nigeria the lead in the 36th minute.
His fellow Italy-based forward, Lookman of Atalanta, completed his brace in the 90th minute, a few minutes after Osimhen was taken off after a physically gritty night.
In the end, he was applauded by the over 22,000 spectators after the game chanting his name.
Nigeria also knocked out Cameroon from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations at this same stage.
African legends hail Osimhen
Former Super Eagles coach and midfielder Sunday Oliseh, who was part of Nigeria's AFCON-winning squad in 1994, hailed Osimhen's passion and leadership and also mentioned his uniqueness as a player.
Osimhen held up play nicely, pressed the Cameroon defenders and transitioned brilliantly between attack and defence. Oliseh took to his page to appreciate the 25-year-old.
Another African football legend, Ghana's Asamoah Gyan, the Black Stars' all-time highest goal scorer, also stated that he was impressed by the Nigerian forward following the win and consciously praised his passion.
What next for Super Eagles and Osimhen?
The only sour note for the Super Eagles after the Cameroon victory was the injury to first-choice goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali of Chippa United.
Further checks will be conducted to see whether he will still be available for the team at AFCON 2024.
Coach Jose Peseiro will be hoping for a repeat performance again from Osimhen and the rest of the team when the three-time champions square off against the Palancas Negras of Angola in the quarter-finals that will be held at the same arena on Friday.
The Angolans record a comfortable 3-0 win over Namibia in the first Round of 16 clash of AFCON 2024.