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Iheanacho gives Rohr Super Eagles selection dilemma for AFCON qualifiers

Victor Osimhen has established himself as the Super Eagles first-choice centre forward in recent times.

Since taking the striker mantle from Odion Ighalo in 2019, the Napoli star has been impressive for the national team, scoring five goals in six appearances for Gernot Rohr's side.

Osimhen has often merited his guaranteed spot in the team, leading the line excellently. Up until his last game for the Super Eagles, the embarrassing 4-4 draw with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Osimhen's place was never under threat.

He even scored in that game, in which the Super Eagles blew a 4-0 lead against the upstarts, before dislocating his shoulder and getting taken straight to the hospital.

However, in the intervening months since that match in November, Osimhen has struggled with poor form, indiscipline, injuries and illness.

The 22-year-old has been fined by Napoli for breaking COVID-19 protocol, he has contracted the virus, and he has suffered a nasty head injury in the period.

In four months, Osimhen has played only 10 games for Napoli in all competitions and scored just once. Of course he is still a fine young striker with unbelievable ability but his starting spot in the Super Eagles is not so assured at the moment.

The main man breathing down his neck for that spot is Kelechi Iheanacho, the only other player capable of playing as a No.9 in the Super Eagles squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Squirrels of Benin Republic and Lesotho's Crocodiles.

Iheanacho has been in incredible scoring form lately. The Leicester City striker has scored five goals in his last three Premier League games, making him the most in-form player in the entire league.

The 24-year-old scored his first-ever Premier League hat-trick in Leicester City's 5-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday and was named man of the match. He has also scored in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in his career. He has certainly picked the right time to click into top gear.

If Iheanacho keeps up scoring at the rate he is doing at the moment, and Rohr picks his team against Benin Republic based on current form, the Leicester City star would lead the line in Porto Novo on 27 March. And if Rohr opts for two strikers in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 system, Iheanacho would partner Osimhen. Either way, Iheanacho has played himself back into Super Eagles reckoning.

Iheanacho's improvement in recent weeks has been astounding. He is more clever in his movement and has become more ruthless in front of goal. He has made real progress and scores all kinds of goals: tap-ins, long rangers, headers.

Super Eagles head coach Rohr will surely be happy with Iheanacho's form, but the German must be scratching his head, wondering what to do with his forward line.

Content created and supplied by: Obanurudin (via Opera News )

Gernot Rohr Iheanacho Odion Ighalo Sierra Leone Victor Osimhen


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