In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro discussed Napoli’s treatment of their star striker Victor Osimhen after the player missed a penalty kick and a video mocking him was uploaded on the club’s social media handle.
“That video? From the club? From the outside is one thing but a video from the club, that is the worst. That cannot happen,” Jose Peseiro told Sky Sports.
“He was sad because it is not easy for anyone. He does not understand it. He does not understand why.”
The Nigeria’s head coach knew there would be challenges when he took over the team of a football-obsessed nation of over 200 million people, but he did not expect to be dealing with the fall-out as his star player, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, was inexplicably targeted by his own club.
Perhaps you will have seen the bizarre social media post making fun of Osimhen’s penalty miss or the racially-charged one referring to him as a coconut. The man who fired Napoli to their first Serie A title since the days of Diego Maradona, reduced to a punchline.
Peseiro has been to Naples and seen the other side, the public displays of adoration for Osimhen in a city that has long been a shrine to the cult of Maradona. There are murals of the current centre-forward alongside the former icon now. “In the same place.”
It is another reason why he is indignant at recent events. “He helps the team to the league and now they are mocking him?” But, having spoken to Osimhen to offer support, his advice is to stay focused and not allow this treatment to impact his ambitions in the game
“Osimhen is a star. Two years ago, he was not a star. Now, he is a star. And when you are a star, everybody wants more, more, more. The others can do bad but if Osimhen does bad it is different because people demand more from the players who can do more.
“It was a bad thing that Napoli did. Of course, he would prefer they do not do it. But my advice is to stay calm. Do not play against the fans. Do not lose balance. Keep the mentality. Keep the personality. That is what the very best players do. And he can be at the top.”
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