Nigeria nervously awaits updates on star striker Victor Osimhen’s fitness as he missed the team’s flight due to reported “abdominal discomfort”.
The Napoli talisman, who has featured in all five Africa Cup of Nations matches for the Super Eagles, contributing a goal and an assist, was stretchered off during stoppage time of their 1-0 quarter-final victory over Angola. An update from Nigeria’s statement has now disclosed that Osimhen missed the team’s flight to Bouake on Monday due to “abdominal discomfort”. The Athletic reports that he will undergo further assessment on Tuesday before a decision is made. Scheduled for Wednesday evening, Nigeria will face South Africa in the first semi-final.
Osimhen is an invaluable part of Nigeria in their AFCON adventure
The statement reads: “Members of the team traveled from Abidjan to Bouake today via a 10pm Air Cote D’Ivoire flight. Osimhen did not however make the trip as a result of an abdominal discomfort. Team medics have confirmed that he is under close observation, with a member of the medical team staying behind in Abidjan with him. If cleared by tomorrow morning, he will join the rest of the squad before 5pm.”
While not replicating the red-hot form he displayed during Napoli’s Scudetto-winning campaign last season, Osimhen remains a crucial component of Nigeria’s squad. With 27 international caps and extensive experience in Italian and European football, his presence is invaluable. However, if he’s unable to play, the Super Eagles can still count on talents like Ademola Lookman. The Atalanta forward has impressed in Cote d’Ivoire, tallying three goals and an assist in the tournament so far.
Nigeria has clinched the AFCON title three times throughout its history, with their most recent triumph occurring in 2013. They secured the championship by defeating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final.
In the FIFA rankings, Nigeria currently holds the 42nd position, which is 24 places above their opponents for Wednesday, South Africa. With this advantage, they harbor quiet confidence in securing their first AFCON final spot in 11 years. However, if Osimhen is unable to play due to fitness concerns, it could be a significant setback for the team.