What fuels Osimhen’s competitive drive? Super Eagles star reveals

Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen has revealed the driving force behind his competitive nature.

Osimhen is known for his edge-of-the-seat reactions and gestures during games, including initiating rallying calls whenever he scores. The Napoli star chalks this up to an innate desire to never end up on the losing side.

The 25-year-old is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023), where he hopes to write his name into the competition's folklore—just as he's recently done after leading Napoli to an Italian league title after over three decades.

The reigning African Player of the Year was on the scoresheet during his country’s opening group game against Equatorial Guinea, but his strike was not enough as the Super Eagles shared the spoils with their Central African opponents.

Super Eagles star Victor Osimhen
Credit: Icon Sport

With Nigeria preparing to take on Ivory Coast in their second Group A game on Thursday, January 18, the Napoli star has opened up on the driving force behind his competitive nature.

Osimhen loves to motivate Super Eagles teammates

According to him, his competitive nature stems from an innate will to win, adding that he’s always looking to motivate his teammates to be on the same wavelength.

“I get upset and I don’t feel myself [when we lose]. But when you win, you feel more relaxed when you go to bed and when you wake up, you have that sense of fulfilment in your heart and in your mind,” Osimhen told NFF TV ahead of Thursday's clash against Ivory Coast.

“It gives you the courage to want to get more wins. Of course, football is all about winning, losing and drawing, so it’s part of the game.

“But I want to motivate my teammates, I want to motivate my players to make sure that we try to get the win and try to make sure we go to the max.”

The Napoli forward, who’s the reigning CAF Footballer of the Year, will be hoping to add to his tally in the AFCON when Nigeria faces the Ivory Coast.

Osimhen – ‘I scream a lot'

Osimhen also opened up on why he screams a lot on the pitch. He noted that it's a gesture that his teammates willfully participate in.

“I scream a lot, I shout a lot. Not because I want to scream at my players, but now they really understand the kind of personality that I have, so they also motivate and scream at me, which is a good thing,” he said.

“I like it when my teammate is ready to go and they’re trying to drag me along and trying to motivate me. For me, it’s a huge one. And now we know what we demand from each other and we try to help each other.”

Osimhen and Nigeria must avoid defeat against the Ivory Coast on Thursday to strengthen their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage.

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Emmanuel Ayamga

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