AFCON 2021 : Interim Nigeria boss Eguavoen names the heir to unavailable striker Osimhen :: All Nigeria Soccer

AFCON 2021 : Interim Nigeria boss Eguavoen names the heir to unavailable striker Osimhen

AFCON 2021 : Interim Nigeria boss Eguavoen names the heir to unavailable striker Osimhen

Peter Olayinka’s impressive displays in European competitions over the last three seasons have not gone unnoticed by Augustine Eguavoen, with the interim Nigeria boss naming the Slavia Prague star as the player to step into the shoes of Victor Osimhen at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Napoli star was forced to withdraw from the Nigeria roster due to a combination of Covid, injury and non-release by his Serie A club.

Olayinka is a late bloomer on the international stage, making only two appearances off the bench since his debut in a glamour friendly against Brazil back in October 2019,  but has done enough to impress Eguavoen in the few training sessions in Abuja.

With uncertainty over the availability of Al-Shabab star Odion Ighalo, Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi are also being considered for the number nine role while Chidera Ejuke could be deployed as a false nine.

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Speaking to reporters at Tuesday’s press conference, Eguavoen said : “Hopefully Odion comes, if he doesn’t come it’s a bit of a worry. Osimhen is out, it’s also a bit of a worry.

“We have Awoniyi, we have Olayinka, we might be forced to play false nine, we have Iheanacho, we have Chidera who can also come from behind and fill the role so might just have to adjust the system of play.

“I might play with a striker, I might not play with a striker it depends. Osimhen is out Olayinka is the next person to fill in.”

These days, Olayinka is predominantly a winger at club level but he still knows a thing or two about scoring goals, notching 28 and providing 16 assists in 128 games since joining the Czech giants.

Igho Kingsley

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