Two players in Nigeria’s camp ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins this Sunday in Cameroon, have spoken in divergent views about the Super Eagles’ chances, as Watford of England defender, William Troost-Ekong fears they will miss SSC Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen, but FC Nantes of France winger, Moses Simon insists there is no cause for alarm.
With Osimhen eventually forced out of the impending competition by a second covid-19 infection in the spate of two years, while also still recuperating from a face injury he copped in action for his club, Troost-Ekong admitted his presence would have made a world of difference for the Eagles.
However, rather than stoke the embers of trepidation among the players and Nigerian football fans, Simon opted to hype optimism, as the former SK Trencin of Slovakia, KAA Gent of Belgium and Levante of Spain whiz-kid stressed that the Eagles will ruffle many feathers in Cameroon.
Rather than fret over a myriad of issues rocking the Eagles, Simon called for calm and enthused that the Eagles’ chances of advancing from Group D will get better after they over come Egypt in their opening game next Tuesday in Garoua.
Simon, who also set a target of the Eagles reaching at least the semi-finals, added: “Nigerians should keep calm because even we also are threat to them so they should watch and see how we play.
“It’s really exciting. Good teams, our first game is against Egypt and we know what it takes, last AFCON we came third and I believe we can go far.
“There are experienced players and there are non-experienced players in the Nations Cup. I believe it’s a good thing to encourage each other. Good one for me and the team, we know each other for long.”
On the other hand, Troost-Ekong, who is also the Eagles’ vice-captain and anchor in defence, admitted that Eagles will miss the goals scoring qualities of Osimhen, who he described as one of the hottest strikers in the world at the moment.
Troost-Ekong stated matter-of-factly: “At the last AFCON Victor didn’t play until the very last game. Of course we are going to miss Victor very much; he’s probably one of the hottest strikers in the world right now.
“Luckily, we have many players here who can score goals, for their clubs they are in form and I think that’s the beauty about tournament football, there’s always new players that will stand up and show themselves.”