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Terem Moffi vs Victor Osimhen: Comparing two of Nigeria’s deadliest strikers

Who deserves to be ahead in the Super Eagles pecking order?

To the average Nigerian football fan, Terem Moffi and Victor Osimhen are two strikers on the top of their respective games at the moment. Two of Europe’s most talented young forwards, the pair showed a ruthless side when Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro paired them upfront against minnows Sao Tome & Principe in Agadir in June 2022. The beatdown that followed was historic, with the two strikers scoring six of ten goals. Prior to the match, both men had never started a professional match together, but their paths had already crossed in the past.

Going back to 2015, when the country was raving about Victor Osimhen, who broke the goal record at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Terem Moffi must have been back home feeling a bit unhappy. When coach Emmanuel Amuneke assembled the best players in the country below the age of 17, he had been a member of the camp. When the time came to select 21 players to travel to Chile for the showpiece, he was cut from the squad. Osimhen was obviously included in the squad, and he went on to make history.

From that day onwards, throughout his career, Moffi has continued to play catch-up to Osimhen. Osimhen played in Belgium for Sporting Charleroi in 2018-19 and Moffi moved to the same league one season later with KV Kortrijk but never played against Osimhen, who had moved to Lille in France.

Similarly, Osimhen played in France for just one season before moving to Napoli in 2020. Once again, Moffi moved to France with FC Lorient but never played against Osimhen, who had moved away from the league.

Born within months of each other, Victor Osimhen and Terem Moffi finally seem to be on a similar pedestal in world football.

Standing taller than Osimhen at 6’2, Moffi is a striker whose physique deceives viewers. In spite of his size, he is a big man who enjoys playing on the counter, just like Inter Milan man Romelu Lukaku. The 23-year-old plays his best football when paired with another striker, as was seen against Sao Tome. Osimhen is different in this regard, as he is capable of thriving in different systems, as shown under Gennaro Gattuso in Napoli and with the Super Eagles.

Moffi is a powerful runner and excellent for teams looking to play on the transition. A look at his goals for FC Lorient and OGC Nice in France points clearly to this aspect of his game. He lacks an explosive acceleration but gets into his stride early and is difficult to knock off balance due to his sheer size. Osimhen is more explosive in his running and is similarly able to maintain his balance with contact from defenders.

Terem Moffi is weak in the air and not very adept at hold-up play. He has won only 26.8% of his aerial duels this season. In comparison, Victor Osimhen has won 50% of his.

According to a comparison on fbref.com, Moffi slightly edges Osimhen in finishing, despite having slightly lower numbers than the Napoli man. Moffi has scored 15 goals in 24 Ligue 1 matches this season, while Osimhen has scored 19 goals in 22 Serie A matches.

Their underlying numbers, however, paint a different picture. While Osimhen has scored his goals from an xG of 14.7, Moffi has scored his from an xG of 9.0. The Nice man has taken only 43 shots this season, with 24 of them on target. In contrast, Osimhen has taken 94 shots for Napoli, with 36 of them on target. This implies that the Napoli man is much more wasteful than his international teammate.

Moffi needs only 1.15 shots to score a goal, while Osimhen needs 1.77 shots. In terms of overall impact on the game, the former has a 74.2% pass accuracy this season compared to 70.7% for the latter. Moffi also attempts and wins more tackles than Osimhen and has successfully blocked more shots.

Unlike Osimhen, Moffi is not comfortable coming deep to receive the ball in his half as his technical security is somewhat lacking and he ends up losing the ball. Also, he does not run the channels as willingly as Osimhen does. Like the Napoli man, however, his movement in the box makes him very difficult to mark and a dangerous outlet for crosses despite his inability to win aerial duels.

In the green and white of the national team, Terem Moffi has scored three goals in nine appearances since making his debut in 2021. Victor Osimhen, on the other hand, has scored 15 times in 23 caps since making his Super Eagles debut in 2017.

Moffi has unknowingly spent much of his professional career running after Osimhen. Now, both strikers have shown their quality and can coexist in Peseiro’s Super Eagles setup. The manager must find a way to give both men sufficient minutes as their individual qualities makes them the perfect pair in attack. To Peseiro it should not be Victor Osimhen or Terem Moffi, but rather Victor Osimhen and Terem Moffi.

Both men complement each other perfectly. While the Napoli man is right-footed, the OGC Nice man is left-footed. Their work on and off the ball is impressive, and most importantly, they both know where the goal is.

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