Victor Osimhen, a top striker in Europe, arrived at the Nigeria camp with high expectations, but his recent displays in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau have drawn criticism from fans, media, and commentators.
Osimhen failed to impress in the recent match against the African wild dogs, leading to accusations of arrogance. Although he is among the top scorers in the qualifiers, with five goals to his name, four of those came in Nigeria’s record-breaking win against São Tomé and Príncipe.
Nigeria’s manager, Jose Peseiro, has defended Osimhen, stating that the striker feels more pressure with the national team than his club, Napoli. Peseiro acknowledged that players come under immense pressure to perform when playing for their country, and that Osimhen’s struggles are not due to a lack of commitment.
“Victor is among the top scorers in Europe but it happens. Sometimes the people complain about the players, it’s not true they are not committed. The players come here and feel the pressure, they feel the stress,” Peseiro commented on Osimhen’s performance.
“Osimhen came here to fight for our shirt, for the Super Eagles. Osimhen now feels the pressure more with our national team than in Napoli, it’s not good.
“I spoke with him, the first match, he started the match in Nigeria. He started feeling the pressure – I need to score, I need to do everything well.
“When a player puts it in his mind I need to do everything well, sometimes he doesn’t do well, but he made a fantastic sacrifice.
The manager urged fans and commentators to be understanding of the pressure that players face when donning the national shirt.
“When our players put on the shirt to defend the Super Eagles, they are under more pressure. The fans, people need to understand that.
“They feel too much pressure because they want to do well for the country, family, flag and Super Eagles. That moment, they commit more mistakes, they don’t do things well.”
In their recent match, Nigeria secured a vital win against Guinea-Bissau thanks to Moses Simon’s penalty in the 30th minute. The victory saw Nigeria return to the top of Group A in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.