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Why Nigeria Produces More Strikers Than Defenders – Okocha

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Former Nigerian captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has explained why Nigeria is having more talented strikers than defenders and goalkeepers.

While players like Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface, Taiwo Awoniyi, Gift Orban, Kelechi Iheanacho, Terem Moffi, and many others are excelling in various European leagues, scoring fantastic goals on weekly basis, hardly you heard of Nigerian defenders or goalkeeping doing well with their club in foreign leagues.

The dominance of Nigerian strikers has raised questions about their prevalence and success compared to other positions in football.

During a Bundesliga media round table, Okocha expressed his opinion on Nigeria’s proficiency in producing successful strikers, attributing it to cultural inclinations.

“I will say football is part of our culture in Nigeria. And every kid in Nigeria wants to be a goalscorer. [They] want to be noticed. They realized that maybe the offensive midfielders, players and strikers are the ones that get noticed more than defenders. And maybe because of nature. Also, the way we are built has made us [Nigeria] produce a lot of strikers“ he commented.

Furthermore, Okocha highlighted the contrast by citing Senegal, a country that seemingly produces more defenders than strikers, indicating a possible influence of genetic factors.

“If you look at a country like Senegal, I think they have produced more defenders than strikers. So it might have something to do with our genes. But also, the fans might also have a hand in it, because we don’t forgive defenders if they score an own goal but we can forgive strikers.” he added.

Looking ahead, the Super Eagles of Nigeria are gearing up for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. The expectation is for this generation of talents, particularly the strikers, to provide fans with reasons to celebrate during the tournament.

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