Was Super Eagles star Sadiq Umar’s injury worth missing AFCON?

Was Super Eagles star Sadiq Umar’s injury worth missing AFCON?
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The Super Eagles of Nigeria did not start AFCON 2023 on the right note, with many of its fans expecting the team laden with foreign-based stars to make short work of the Nzalang Nacional.

The Super Eagles started the tournament with a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea, which has left many tongues wagging about their chances of winning a fourth title.

Ahead of AFCON 2023, the Super Eagles have struggled with a spate of injuries that left the coach, Jose Peseiro, scrambling for late replacements.

Some players who missed the tournament include Taiwo Awoniyi, Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Boniface and Sadiq Umar, but recent reports suggest that Umar is back in training.

Did Super Eagles striker Sadiq Umar overstate his injury?

Super Eagles star sadiq umar back in training
Photo by Icon sport

Sadiq Umar was the last player to leave the Super Eagles camp due to injury. While some reports claim it was a groin injury, others believe it was a knee injury.

The Real Sociedad forward quickly left camp for Spain to receive treatment and possibly return to action for the Spanish La Liga side soon.

In a twist of fate, videos of Umar back in training surfaced on the internet, with many asking if the injury was enough to keep him out of AFCON 2023.

According to reports, the injury would keep him out of action for a few days.

Some of the questions asked are, if the injury was to keep him out of action for a few days, why did he not remain in camp for the period and probably be available for the Super Eagles last group match against Guinea Bissau?

Real Sociedad posted on their X platform a video of Umar going through his paces, but plenty of Nigerians are now doubting the severity of the injury that kept him out of AFCON.

Rumours have it that Umar could be fit to return to action as early as this weekend when Real Sociedad travel to Celta Vigo for a La Liga game.

Super Eagles and the injuries ahead of AFCON

Victor Boniface out for Super Eagles
Credit: Icon Sport

While Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi copped their injuries playing for their clubs, Umar and Victor Boniface were knocked out while in camp for the Super Eagles.

It has not been a pleasant week heading up to the tournament, as the Super Eagles have had to make last-minute adjustments ahead of their first game.

The Umar injury is the second he has had since joining Real Sociedad in September 2022. The first injury, a cruciate ligament tear, kept him out for 291 days.

The picture looks bleak for the Nigerian side as they drew their first game against Equatorial Guinea and has a tough match against the hosts on Thursday.

Any question over the health status of any Super Eagles player should be laid squarely on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

If their doctors verified Umar as unfit to play at AFCON and allowed him to return to his club, then why question the authenticity of his fitness?

Besides, Umar has always honoured every international call-up to the Super Eagles, though he has not been a regular starter.

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.