June, 19 2023.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are back in the country after a battling 3-2 away victory over the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, who hosted the 2023 Afcon Group A qualifier in Monrovia, capital of Liberia.
The victory inadvertently secured for Nigeria a spot at the finals to be staged in January 2024 in Côte d'Ivoire and also confirmed the qualification of Guinea Bissau.
The three-time African champions thus qualified for their 20th Afcon tournament, thanks to a first half brace from SSC Napoli striker, Victor Oshimen and a last gasp winner from Kelechi Iheanacho.
The two goals scored by Osimhen on Sunday saw him climb to the top of the scorers table for CAF Qualifying with seven (7) goals, two clear of Senegal's Sadio Mané, who prior to Match-day 5 was tied with Osimhen on 5 goals apiece.
Next are three players who are on four goals each: Dango Faissal Ouattara of Burkina Faso, Louis Mafouta of the Central African Republic and Patson Daka of Zambia.
Osimhen's quick-fire brace on Sunday at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia took him to joint sixth on the all-time Super Eagles list of scorers, equalling Samson Siasia’s record of seventeen (17) goals.
The Prince of Naples leapfrogged Odion Ighalo and captain Ahmed Musa, who are both on 16 goals — to join former Super Eagles Head Coach, Siasia, in sixth position, and is now one goal shy of Obafemi Martins’ 18 goals.
Late Rashidi Yekini leads tops the chart with 37 goals from 67 games, but with about ten more years more, he has to play for the senior national team, pundits and fans alike are in agreement, that the prolific Napoli striker can sustain his goal scoring form, and surpass Yekini's feat for the Eagles.
In a season where his stock and reputation as one of the best strikers in the world has grown exponentially, Osimhen's Sccudetto winning, also saw him become the African with the highest number of goals, in the entire history of Serie A; and he is also the first-ever African player to win the Golden Boot in the Italian top flight.
Not long ago, the 24-year-old was conferred with a Nigerian national honour Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR); the striker whose rise to fame began with his goal scoring exploits, with the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria, at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Qatar, where Nigeria won a record fifth World Cup title, www.ckdmedia.ng reports.