5 players that could lead the Super Eagles attack in the absence of Victor Osimhen at the Nations Cup

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•Victor Osimhen has been ruled out of action for three months according to reports ( PHOTO: Getty Images)

Osimhen was already acquitting himself quite well as the Super Eagles' top striker with vital goals (PHOTO: AFP)

There was still some hope that despite the gruesome nature of the injury he sustained in a clash of heads with Milan Skriniar during a Serie A game for his club, Napoli over the weekend, Victor Osimhen would somehow recover on time to make the Super Eagles team to next year's African Cup of Nations scheduled for Cameroun.

But Wednesday's damning verdict from his club doctor, Gianpaolo Tartaro has finally nailed such hopes and Nigeria is condemned to make other plans going into the tournament.

Although Tartaro, the surgeon who performed the procedure to correct Osimhen's damaged cheekbone and eye socket said it was "perfectly successful", his position that the Nigerian hitman would need at least three months to recover means he is effectively ruled out of the Nations Cup billed for between January 9 and February 6, 2022.

Well, no use crying over spilt milk. It is now certain that when the Super Eagles begin their quest for a possible 4th AFCON title in Cameroun next year, some other name will anchor it's attack.

In this report, we take a look at 5 possible fits for the big shoes Osimhen has left courtesy of the unfortunate injury that has sidelined him...


Photo credit: EPA

At 32 years old, Odion Ighalo is Nigeria's most experienced striker, having had stints across major leagues in Europe and Asia.

He was intrumental in helping Nigeria's qualification for the last edition of the Nations Cup which held in Egypt, scoring 9 goals and going ahead to top it with 5 goals in 7 appearances to win the Golden Boot at the tournament proper.

He only just returned to the team after a self-imposed exile following alleged death threats issued him and his family in the wake of his not too impressive performance for Nigeria at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Since then, he has been no less prolific with commendable showings playing for Manchester United in a brief loan spell from Chinese Super League club, Shanghai Shenhua and Saudi Arabian side, Al Shabab.

He could be the man the coaches will once again be forced to turn to in Cameroun.


Photo credit: Getty Images

Kelechi Iheanacho has impressed for the Super Eagles since making his debut for the team in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Eswatini in 2017.

Since then, he has featured 38 times and scored 11 goals.

Although he hasn't been so far been unable to re-ignite the form that made him toast of Leicester City fans last season, no one is in doubt about his quality.

Iheanacho thrives mostly as a support striker but he has proven on more than a few occasions that he can steal the show and score vital goals for both club and country even in that role.


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Bonaventure Emmanuel Dennis has been a revelation since he joined English club, Watford from Belgian side, Club Brugge last summer.

In only 11 appearances for the Hornets, he already scored 4 goals, and grabbed 5 assists -- making him one of the team's most dependable, in-form strikers of the ongoing season.

Astute watchers are of the view he can bring such red-hot form to bear on the fortunes of the Super Eagles if he gets the chance to lead the line at a tournament as big as the African Cup of Nations.

He has only played for the Eagles 3 times.


Photo credit: AFP

Simeon Tochukwu Nwankwo, simply known as 'Simy' is another striker that could lead the Super Eagles attack if given the opportunity at the Nations Cup.

The imposing striker who is the only other African player after Samuel Eto'o to score 20 goals or more in the Serie A last season, has shown time and time again that he is a consummate finisher of world class quality.

Starring for Crotone last season, the striker who is now on loan to Salernitana produced performances that gave the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku cause to wonder.

Experts argue that he hasn't been able to transfer that goal-scoring form to the Super Eagles because of limited chances he has got to shine.


Photo credit: Getty Images

•Paul Onuachu in action for Nigeria against Egypt on the day he made his debut (PHOTO: NFF)

Playing in the colours of RKC Genk, Paul Onuachu took the Belgian Super League by storm last season as he embarked on a goal-scoring spree.

At the end, he was so good that he ended up winning the Golden Boot award as well the Belgian Professional Footballer of The Year award.

And despite finding game time in the Eagles few and far in between, he has managed to still make an impression.

The goal he scored on his debut for the Eagles against the Pharaoh's of Egypt in a friendly international on March 26, 2019 remains the fastest ever by a player in Nigeria's senior team.

He scored it in less than 10 seconds into the game 



Photo credit: AFP

This 23-year old who has had stints at Gombe United, Valerenga, Heerenveen, and now CSKA Moscow may not fit your idea of an out and out striker since he is essentially a left winger but who says he can't be deployed in the centre of attack sometimes?


Photo credit: AP

Terem Moffi is another prospect that could evolve into the finished product that Nigerians all want to see at the Nations Cup.

The 22-year old who currently stars for French Ligue 1 outfit, Lorient has since made his debut for the Eagles and could spring a surprise if he gets to start games at the Nations Cup.


Photo credit: Getty Images

Umar Sadiq had always been on the fringes of the Super Eagles after he distinguished himself in Nigeria's bronze-winning feat at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Now playing for Spanish team, UD Almeria, the 24-year old former youth international finally earned a call-up to the Super Eagles during the Nations Cup qualifying matches against Benin Republic and Lesotho in March 2021.

His finishing ability is underlined by what he has done at Almeria since joining from Partizan Belgrade.

With 27 goals in 57 outings for Almeria, Sadiq Umar is any coach's dream. No doubt he can replicate same if he gets his chance to lead the country's attack in Cameroun.


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Taiwo Awoniyi only just called up to the national team despite showing huge promise from his day as a youth international.

The academy graduate burst on to the scene when he helped Nigeria to their 4th FIFA U-17 World Cup title at UAE 2013.

His form had attracted Liverpool who quickly splashed the cash to sign him up. But work permit problems paved the way for several loan spells with clubs across Europe.

Unfortunately, in 2021 -- the year he would finally conquer his work permit problems -- Jurgen Klopp decided he didn't fit into his plans and decided to sell him off to Bundesliga side, Union Berlin.

He has, however, since rediscovered his scoring magic at Berlin, scoring 7 goals in 9 of the matches he has so far played for the team.

On the strength of those scoring exploits, he finally got called up recently. Those who know the Rashidi Yekini alter ego say he can hold his own if given a decent run of matches by the Super Eagles handlers.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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