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AFCON 2024: Football pundit expresses fear over Osimhen/Boniface combination

Posted : 26 December 2023

A football pundit, Desmond Ekwueme, has called on Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro to make informed decisions in pairing Super Eagles forwards, especially with the current African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen, and Bayern Leverkusen hot forward, Victor Boniface.

He said that although the possibility of the Eagles winning the AFCON might seem like an uphill task, they can still make something out of it.

"I am not really too much into the Eagles, not because the Super Eagles lack quality, but because they lack a quality gaffer who has the capacity to translate and transform individual talents into a formidable winning side.

"Again, the players lack the mentality of champions, even with their individual talents. They lack the attitude of conquerors.

"The never-say-die Nigeria spirit is missing in these fashionistas and boy scouts who see tournaments like this as a mere jamboree or picnic instead of a war to conquer and carve a niche for themselves.

"For the Super Eagles to shine in Cote d'Ivoire, the strength of the team must be fully exploited and explored. To do well, its potential and key areas must be effectively employed.

"As it stands, the strength of this team is in its attack, anchored by the African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen. Without taking anything away from Osimhen, he is presently not the hottest Nigerian striker in Europe.

"Victor Boniface is and should be allowed to complement the efforts and experience of Osimhen as the lead forward of the team.

"All eyes would be on Osimhen in Cote d'Ivoire. Defenders will come after him. He would need the referee's protection to do well; otherwise, he may have a rather turbulent or nightmarish tournament (God forbid).

"This is why Boniface should not be left on the bench as a substitute. Jose Peseiro should adopt a twin-attacking formation or pattern where Osimhen and Boniface would pair and play side-by-side.

"This arrangement would make the Super Eagles' attack a handful for opponents. Boniface has pace and power just like Osimhen, therefore, the opposing defenders won't want to risk focusing or concentrating on Osimhen.

"This confusion in the minds of the opposing defenders on who to checkmate is all the Super Eagles need for Osimhen and Boniface to finish the job.

"It would even take away the pressure of scoring from Osimhen to allow him to play his normal game.

"Peseiro should not attempt to keep Boniface on the bench. The 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward is a potential destroyer.

"He is a weapon of mass destruction who should be deployed from day one to run down defenders, thus giving Osimhen the leverage to do his stuff with ease.

"Gernot Rohr had the privilege of pairing Osimhen with the red-hot then Belgium-based Paul Onuachu but chose to play politics of handing first-team shirts to so-called senior players or players featuring for big boys, that became his albatross.

"We should pray Peseiro doesn't repeat that error. He should field fit and in-form players, not big names or senior players. The result is key, and to secure the best result, you must field your best.

"Finally, I pray both players show teamwork and understanding rather than aim at personal or individual honor.

"They should cooperate and work together for the success of the team. Selfishness and egocentric attitudes should be buried before the first game is played."



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