Super Eagles suffer another blow as winger joins Osimhen on the treatment table

Super Eagles suffer another blow as winger joins Osimhen on the treatment table
Credit: Icon Sport

The November 2023 FIFA World Cup qualifiers is looking bleak for the Super Eagles as two key players – Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze – will be absent for the games.

The friendly match in Portugal against Saudi Arabia brought some misfortune for the three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions. The Napoli and the AC Milan attackers both picked up knocks that will see them sidelined for a while: Osimhen for up to six weeks and Chukwueze for four weeks, according to reports.

The former Villarreal man will also miss a run of important games for league leaders Milan in the process.

Samuel Chukwueze out for crunch Milan and Nigeria games

Samuel Chukwueze is the only AC Milan player to have returned from the October 2023 international break with an injury. The Umuahia-born winger played 65 minutes for the Nigeria national football team against Saudi Arabia and was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho, whose goal gave Nigeria the lead until an unfortunate deflection put the ball past Francis Uzoho in goal to seal a draw for the Green Falcons.

The 24-year-old was evaluated by Milan’s medical staff who have issued a statement that he will be out for a month at best and six weeks at worst.

In that time, the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner will miss Milan’s Serie A game against Juventus at home this weekend, their home and away games with Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League, their trip to Napoli in the Serie A (which Osimhen will also miss due to picking up an injury in the Saudi Arabia game), their home league game versus Udinese, and their trip to Lecce in the Italian top flight.

This is also a big blow for José Peseiro who was counting on the winger for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho (13 November) and Zimbabwe (20 Novermber). Victor Osimhen will miss those games as well.

Both players are expected to have recovered enough to start training by the time the next international break comes round but it is unlikely that their clubs will allow them to travel for international obligations immediately after recovery from an injury.

Chukwueze will begin treatment on Thursday with the Milan medical staff who will closely monitor him. In the meantime, he will hope that he does not descend further down the pecking order at the club, as he is in a fierce battle for a starting berth.

Samuel Chukwueze injury history, stats for AC Milan in 2023/24

Since making his debut in 2018/19 for Spanish LaLiga side Villarreal, Samuel Chukwueze has spent a total of 941 days on the sidelines, missing a total of 158 games for club and country. For context, that is two years and six months worth of football in a career that is only five years old.

Assuming he had stayed fit and had started every single game from his debut until now, Chukwueze would have had 368 games under his belt for club and country at the age of 24. That would place him in elite company among Nigerian players abroad, many of whom fail to get 300 total appearances in their careers.

For AC Milan, the 24-year-old forward has played nine games, starting only three (two in the Serie A and one in the Champions League). He is yet to register a goal or an assist but is considered important by manager Stefano Pioli, who is currently working hard to fill the void that the former Villarreal youth player will leave for the next month.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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