Osimhen was not healthy enough for AFCON – Eguavoen

Osimhen Napoli

After a tug of war with Napoli, Victor Osimhen had to pull out of AFCON.

Eguavoen said the player had to pull out due to health concerns.

Nigerians are worried over the makeup of the Super Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon next week. Fans fear that the team does not have enough firepower to challenge the best on the continent for the AFCON trophy.

In recent matches, the Super Eagles have found goals hard to come by, and it has necessitated worry, with the most potent missile in their arsenal out of commission.

Health issues forced Osimhen out

Augustine Eguavoen, head coach of the Super Eagles, is disappointed at missing some players he hoped would be in Cameroon. Eguavoen will lead the Super Eagles in an interim capacity has had to rejig his strategies following confirmation of the players.

He was particularly very concerned about Victor Osimhen, who was supposed to be part of the squad to Cameroon but had to opt out due to a facial injury and Covid-19 infection. Speaking with journalists at the MKO Abiola Stadium Abuja, Eguavoen confirmed that Osimhen had to be exempt from the Africa Cup of Nations due to health issues.

There was a tussle between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Napoli over the availability of the 23-year-old. In the end, Osimhen had to pull out due to the injury that sidelined him since November.

Osimhen sustained the injury after a collision of heads with Milan Skriniar in Napoli’s 2-3 loss to Inter Milan in late November.

A tug of war

Following the injury to Osimhen and successful surgery, Napoli revealed that the striker would be out for two to three months. Osimhen started recovering quickly, necessitating a return to personal training with the aid of a face mask designed to protect him from worsening the injury.

Osimhen was confident about being fit in time for the AFCON and, at a point, declared himself fit and ready to go for the tournament. Osimhen revealed this via his Twitter handle.

After a tussle between Napoli and the NFF, Osimhen pulled out of AFCON. Napoli reported that the striker had tested positive to Covid-19 and would not make it to the tournament.

Many wondered why Osimhen suddenly pulled out of the tournament, but Augustine Eguavoen confirmed to the press that Osimhen had no choice but to withdraw because of his health.

According to Eguavoen, Osimhen pleaded for understanding as his hands were tied. Eguavoen said Osimhen wanted to be at AFCON. It is, however, a sad situation for both the player and manager. Eguavoen said he tried to convince Osimhen to change his mind, but he had to put his health first.

As a former player, Eguavoen understood the gravity of the situation and had to accept the player’s decision. Osimhen did not want to go to AFCON not 100% fit but is in line to return to action when Napoli trade tackles with Bologna on January 16 in the Serie A.

This article was most recently revised and updated 6 months ago

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