Paul Onuachu has been missing his scoring boots in the national team and the pressure keeps mounting on the 26 year-old as Nigeria struggles to find an impressive consistent form.
The Super Eagles have not won in three games and have been goal shy without first choice Striker Victor Osimhen, his deputy, Onuachu has also not been able to hold up the bar.
Onuachu has been capped 9 times by Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr, but has a meager 1 goal to show for all his time on the pitch.
The towering Attacker, who stands at 2.01 meter, got 18 minutes in the first-leg against Sierra Leone, after the injury to Osimhen.
But he didn’t make much difference as Nigeria blew a 4-0 lead to settle for a point in a game they were expected to win, easily.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, former Nigerian Forward Odion Ighalo has offered Onuachu advice on overcoming his long unwanted goal drought.
Ighalo, who called time on his international career after the 2019 AFCON where he finished as top scorer, said the 26 year-old needs to focus on working hard and not carrying ‘unnecessary’ pressure.
“Osimhen is a big loss to the team because he plays well and has been scoring goals. But Nigeria is blessed with strikers and blessed with good players,” Ighalo told footballlive.
“All I want to advice whoever is going to play the game is to be calm; don’t feel pressure don’t put the weight of Nigeria and the team on your head.
“If you can’t score a goal as a striker, try to give an assist. If you can’t give an assist work hard for the team because I know the pressure that comes with playing the striking role for Nigeria, fans don’t care what you’re doing they just want you to score.
“I just want Paul Onuachu to work hard for the team and believe in himself; he’s a good player. I trained with him in the national team and have watched him play. He has the physical presence as a striker; He can kick the ball, he can head the ball and win tackles in the air.”
In contrast to his national team showing, the KRC Genk hit-man has been prolific this season in the Jupiler League – He has 9 goals in 11 league appearances.
While the contrasting performances has baffled many, it could cost Rohr his job should Nigeria produce another shambolic show in Freetown as they did in the second-half of their dramatic 8-goal thriller in Benin four days ago.
Ighalo advised the Forward to replicate the confidence level he operates with at club level.
‘I just want him to have that same confidence he has playing for his club side. When you have confidence it’s hard to play under any pressure and you’ll see the chance will come to score goals.’
“The pressure that comes with the national team is different. You’re talking about playing for the Super Eagles and striking; the number 9 position comes with a lot of weight.
“He is a young guy, it will take him time. He is doing well in the club because they believe in him and will allow him make mistakes.
“In Nigeria and the Super Eagles you don’t have that type of grace. I understand the pressure, I’ve been in that position I’ve been in that situation before, so, I’d advice him to be calm, he should express himself and the goal will come,” said Ighalo.