Osimhen has time to break Super Eagles’ goals record but Yekini’s legacy is unrivaled

After scoring four goals against Sao Tomé and Principe, the Napoli forward rose to 10th on the scorers’ list

Victor Osimhen only made his debut five years ago and he is already aiming for the Super Eagles goals record.

With 15 goals in 23 games, the attacker has shown great promise for the future and barring any unforeseen circumstances or the emergence of a new attacker which may threaten his place, he’s expected to break the Super Eagles’ goals record in the coming years.

That achievement, however, will not come on a platter of gold. Osimhen is not get getting carried away and he understands the enormity of the responsibility on his shoulders.

More than his personal achievements, the team means more to the forward and he always aims to win a game than score goals. Still 22 goals off Yekini’s 37 goals record, Osimhen is poised to beat the mark and create a new one, but Yekini’s legacy is untouched.

Between 1983 and 1998, Yekini was the goalsfather of the Super Eagles. His hunger, technique and quality were never questionable and Osimhen rightly acknowledges the weight of that comparison.

He told Omasports in an interview some years ago that “the shoe is heavy, I shouldn’t lie but Nigerians haven’t seen anything,”

From the time he made that statement till now, he has scored in almost every game he’s featured in for Nigeria.

To see a player come close to Yekini’s record offers hope for what’s achievable for Nigeria with many attackers doing their part in the past. At different points, attackers like Obafemi Martins and Ikechukwu Uche have been so hot that they were touted to break the record but they never came close.

Osimhen, however has an incredible advantage owing to his current age and ability. He is yet to hit his peak years and the future offers glee.

Nigerian football legends have called for caution, even as they expressed their delight in his progression. Yekini was devastatingly gifted in the art of goalscoring and his scoring record stands at more than a goal every two games, like Osimhen’s.

“Osimhen is a good striker with good physique and all that,” Garba Lawal, a winner of the Gold Medal at the Atlanta 96 Olympics, and three-time AFCON bronze medallist and one-tome silver medallist told The Nations.

“He  is very young  and he has a lot of future with the Super Eagles; but I think it is too early to compare him with Rashidi  Yekini ( may his  soul rest in peace).”

A man whom Osimhen credits a lot for his development, a Super Eagles legend, and former assistant coach of the national team, Emmanuel Amuneke finds solace in seeing young players get closer to surpassing the feats of former players.

He however reminded Nigerians that players like Yekini don’t come all the time.

“It will be good that the  new generation of players surpass the record set by the older generation,”

“But we can’t  forget what the older generation did in the past  and as you know, all players have their own eras even at that  Yekini  will always remain special.

“ Players like Yekini  always come in a generation and we can recall all that he did in terms of his goal scoring record both at the club and national team levels.

“But with a progressive mind such as mine, I’m really happy with the progress being made by the likes of Victor Osimhen and wherever Yekini is (may his gentle soul rest in peace), I know he would be happy with what Osimhen is doing today, ” he said.

Like Ahmed Musa, Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama, a century caps is not impossible for Osimhen and if he continues at his current level (an average of 0.65 goals per game), he will equal Yekini’s record by his 58th appearance. Impressive expectations for a young player, but the legacy set by Yekini should not be mistaken, it’s for now, supreme and forever untainted.

 

 

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