The Guardian

Super Eagles officially recognize Osimhen with POTY award during camp

Super Eagles players and coaches formally honored Victor Osimhen, winner of the Men's African Player of the Year (POTY) award, at the team's Abu Dhabi camp.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Osimhen became the first Nigerian to win the CAF POTY award as the continent's best player in December since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

This came after he led Napoli to their first Scudetto title in 33 years and topped the scoring charts during the 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying period.

However, the Super Eagles had not played as a team since Osimhen's victory at the CAF awards ceremony.

Nigeria's last game was in November, when the Super Eagles, with Osimhen out injured, were held to back-to-back 1-1 draws by Lesotho and Zimbabwe in FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

However, the Super Eagles are converging on a training camp in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to step up preparations for this month's AFCON in Ivory Coast.

The national team's camp opened on Tuesday, with 24 of the 25 invited players already practicing under coach Jose Peceiro.

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is the only player still waiting to recover from an injury that has ruled him out of the competition.

Osimhen and William Troost-Ekong were among the last players to arrive at camp.

The team's first dinner on Friday was therefore the perfect opportunity for the Super Eagles to formally congratulate Africa's reigning champions.

In a video shared on the team's official X account on Saturday, team coordinator Patrick Pascal was seen asking Osimhen for special recognition.

His teammates and officials praised him with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

“On behalf of the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ibrahim Gusau, board members, coaches, team officials, Super Eagles captains and players, please help us welcome King Osimhen,” Pascal said. he said.

He formally welcomed Mr. Osimhen and praised him for receiving the prestigious award, adding that not only the NFF but the entire country was proud of his achievements.

A prayer was then offered to thank God for the victory.

NAN also reports that Osimhen will be Nigeria's main goal outlet when matches begin in the 34th AFCON to be held in Ivory Coast.

The Napoli forward became Nigeria's most prolific goalscorer in 2023.

As the continent's best striker, he is expected to lead the Super Eagles' charge to a fourth continental title.

Osimhen could become the first Nigerian player since Rashidi Yekini to win AFCON as the continent's best player.

The 2023 AFCON begins on January 13th and concludes on February 11th.


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