AFCON winner warns against Osimhen, Boniface Super Eagles partnership ahead Nigeria-South Africa clash

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Former Celtic defender Efe Ambrose has warned that Nigerians may not see the best of Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface when paired together for the Super Eagles, reports

Boniface and Osimhen are arguably Nigeria’s most celebrated strikers in world football after leading two perennial struggling clubs to triumph in two of Europe’s top five leagues within a year.

Last season, Osimhen won Serie A’s top scorer award – the first by an African – as he powered Napoli to their first Scudetto title in over three decades.

Boniface took the cue from his compatriot and friend, scoring several crucial goals to inspire Bayer Leverkusen to the club’s first Bundesliga title in history.

The two strikers were set to lead Nigeria’s charge to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire early this year before injury ruled out Boniface.

In the absence of the former Union Saint-Gilloise forward, Osimhen’s massive contribution inspired Nigeria to a second-place finish at the AFCON. Arguments have been had that the Super Eagles could have won that tournament if Boniface had been available.

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With Boniface back from the sidelines and back to scoring ways for Bayer Leverkusen, many Super Eagles fans cannot wait to see the 23-year-old unleashed alongside Osimhen in Nigeria’s next engagements.

Nigeria trade tackles with South Africa and the Benin Republic in June on matchday three and four of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, 2013 AFCON winner Efe Ambrose admits that Osimhen and Boniface are excellent forwards.

However, Ambrose believes playing the two strikers together in the Super Eagles would be a tactical drawback for the team.

“Two good players playing in two different teams with different formations is different from playing in the same team with a different formation,” Ambrose told OwnGoalNigeria.

“They are both pointman at their clubs, so having both play for Nigeria will mean one playing out of position or one dropping to the bench.

“Boniface plays in a formation where he is at the peak of the attack to receive the passes, just like Osimhen at Napoli. Playing both in a 4-4-2 formation looks good on paper, but they could be a problem of players running into each other’s space in the box.”

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While Osimhen was at the 2019 and 2023 AFCONs with the Super Eagles, Boniface is yet to feature in a major tournament for Nigeria. 

Nigeria did not qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Still, both Boniface and Osimhen will be keen to help the three-time AFCON winners participate in the 2026 edition of the Mundial. 

NB: Will there be a striking dilemma in the Super Eagles if both Osimhen and Boniface play together? Leave your comments below.