Nigeria national team injured 11 ahead of AFCON 2023 opener

Nigeria national team injured 11 ahead of AFCON 2023 opener
Credit: Icon Sport

Alarm bells are ringing in the Nigeria national team – the Super Eagles, with AFCON 2023 about to kick off this weekend.

Many fans are beginning to doubt the chances of the Super Eagles winning their fourth title in Ivory Coast following the spate of injuries that have hit the team.

The Nigeria national team has not had it this bad ahead of a tournament, as it is almost as if, with each new day, the fans expect an injury in the team.

The latest player to go down to injury is Real Sociedad forward Sadiq Umar, who has returned to Spain for treatment and his place taken by Paul Onuachu.

There are now many questions concerning the training methods of the Portuguese gaffer of the Nigeria national team – the Super Eagles.

Let us look at the injuries that have hit the Nigeria national team ahead of their first game against Equatorial Guinea.

The Nigeria national team dogged by injuries

Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi praying ahead of a Nigeria National team game
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The Nottingham Forest striker started the season on fire, scoring goals repeatedly and giving Nigerians hope of a fantastic AFCON 2023.

Awoniyi suffered a groin injury in the Super Eagles’ 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Lesotho in Uyo in November.

Following his surgery to correct the anomaly, he will not be back until well into the year.

Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi a massive miss for the Nigeria National team
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Wilfred Ndidi has been in solid form this season for Leicester City as they challenge to return to the Premier League next season.

The Super Eagles midfielder had returned to his form of previous years that saw Machester United eyeing him, with Jose Peseiro hinging his hopes on Ndidi anchoring the midfield for the Nigeria national team at AFCON 2023.

Ndidi Ndidi missed The Foxes’ 4-1 home win over Huddersfield Town on New Year’s Day, but it is unclear when he will return.

Ndidi's injury is a massive blow for the Super Eagles.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho in line to feature for the Nigeria National team
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Like Ndidi, Iheanacho also copped an injury ahead of AFCON 2023.

He did not feature for the Foxes in their New Year’s Day 4-1 over Huddersfield, leaving tongues wagging.

However, Iheanacho's injury is not as bad as initially expected, and the Leicester City player is working assiduously to reach full fitness quickly.

Iheanacho will join the Nigeria national team in Ivory Coast but will not be in time for the opening game against Equatorial Guinea.

Victor Boniface

Victor Boniface to miss AFCON with the Nigeria National team
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Perhaps the saddest injury for the Super Eagles is that of Victor Boniface.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker was in line for his first AFCON tournament with the Super Eagles, but barely a week to the start of AFCON 2023, Boniface copped an injury.

Boniface sustained the injury in the Super Eagles camp in Abu Dhabi, and has returned to Germany for treatment.

The place of the prolific striker was taken by Nice forward Terem Moffi.

Sadiq Umar

Sadiq Umar - a late injury rules him out for the Nigeria National team
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Sadiq Umar is the latest player to cop an injury with the Super Eagles.

The Real Sociedad striker was in line to partner Victor Osimhen in attack at the tournament but succumbed to a groin injury that sees him miss the AFCON 2023.

Umar, who was at the last tournament, sees his place taken by Trabzonspur striker Paul Onuachu, who has been in prolific form for the Turkish club.

Jordan Torunarigha

Jordan Torunarigha made his debut for the Super Eagles last year and was in line to play in his first AFCON tournament for the Super Eagles.

Torunarigha copped an injury late last year, but despite recovering in time, he was not invited to the team for the tournament.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.