Charleroi of Belgium striker, Victor Osimhen confirmed his cult status at his club and turned into a new Nigerian hero on Monday, as he snatched three goals and an assist that helped the Olympic Eagles turn the table against Libya in the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Footballlive.ng reports that Osimhen, who had been part of the previous under-23 squad coaches by Samson Yebowei Siasia, which won the 2015 U-23 AFCON, but was dropped from the side that got bronze at Rio 2016 Olympics, justified his hasty deployment from the Super Eagles this past Sunday to Imama Amapakabo’s team.
Osimhen was deployed alongside Francis Odinaka Uzoho, Valentine Ozornwafor and Chidozie Awaziem, on a ‘rescue mission’ to the under-23 squad, following their 2-0 loss in the first leg last Wednesday.
The inclusion of the quartet from the word go for the reverse fixture at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba proved to be the joker in the pack for Amapakabo, as Osimhen hit a first half sizzler and two in the second 45.
There was also marked improvements in all departments for the under-23s, as two other players that have seen senior national team action, Kelechi Nwakali, who also got an assist, and Samuel Chukwueze, as they both hit the woodwork in between Osimhen’s goals.
Team captain, Azubuike Okechukwu, who had also donned the band in squad of 2015, but gave way to John Mikel Obi to lead the Olympic Games’ charge, was also at his best in the Delta State capital.
However, another Belgium-based in-form striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, who had also been part of the 2015 set but did not make it to the Olympics, failed to live up to expectation for the second match running.
The Royal Excel Mousrcon of Belgium attacker, who is on loan from Liverpool of England had to be replaced in the 78th minute by debuting David Chidozie Okereke from Perugia of Italy, who missed the first leg in Bergendan, Tunisia due to visa issues.
Okereke’s entry proved another masterstroke from Amapakabo, as the lad on loan from Bologna of Italy slotted home Nigeria’s fourth and final goal of the evening, with an from an assist by man of the match, Osimhen.