LIBERIA: Weah lauds Osimhen as Eagles reach AFCON finals
By Tope Alabi
Liberian President George Weah has congratulated Super Eagles’ forward, Victor Osimhen, on his performance at the recent AFCON finals, which saw Nigeria emerging winners with a 3-2 lead on Sunday.
Osimhen, who has continued to enjoy an excellent season with 25 league goals, Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title in 33 years, got a personal letter from the President congratulating him and advising that he continues to break new ground.
Weah, watched the match in the presidential box of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Paynesville with Nigeria’s Ambassadors to Liberia and Sierra Leone (Excellencies Godfrey Odudigbo and Henry Omakwu, respectively), President of the NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Board Members Rt. Hon. Nse Essien and Sunday Dele-Ajayi.
The 1995 World, European, and African Footballer of the Year, commenting on Osimhen’s game said; “That is what I call a striker. Good positioning always. Very athletic and knows where to be each time the ball is coming. He is so strong and a fighter par excellence.”
The Napoli forward is now the leading scorer in the qualifying series with seven goals and a total of 17 goals in 25 matches for Nigeria at the senior level. His seven goals in this qualifying campaign include a goal against Sierra Leone in Abuja back in June 2022, giving Nigeria a 3-2 win and three points on the first day of the series, and four of the 10 goals against Sao Tome and Principe in Agadir, Morocco, a few days later, the same day Nigeria set a new international win-record.
President Weah isn’t the only fan of the footballer, as ecstatic Liberian and Sierra Leonean fans reportedly trooped to the window area of the Super Eagles’ dressing room, shouting: “We want Victor!”
Osimhen’s two goals placed Nigeria ahead of Sierra Leone before Mustapha Bundu and Augustus Kargbo drew level, but in the added period, Kelechi Iheanacho scored after a dashing run from Zaidu Sanusi that stunned the Liberian defence.
Victory took Nigeria to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals with 12 points, with a match to spare, alongside second-placed Guinea Bissau, on 10. The Leone Stars crashed out with only five points.
Hosts Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Egypt, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, and Mali are the 14 countries that have qualified for Cote d’Ivoire 2023, with the remaining 10 expected to emerge in September.
Nigeria will host the group’s whipping boys, Sao Tome and Principe, in a purely academic exercise in September.