Osimhen pleaded to be excluded from AFCON
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen pleaded with the technical crew of the Super Eagles to be excluded from the forthcoming African Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.
According to PUNCH, interim coach Austin Eguavoen speaking through the Nigerian Football Federation media channel on Friday, said Osimhen revealed he was not fully fit to feature at the tournament which kicks off from January 9 to February 6 in Cameroon.
Osimhen, who canceled a planned trip to Italy to assess his cheekbone injury after contracting coronavirus for a second time on Thursday will have to undergo a fresh test on his face on January 4.
The 23-year-old has been replaced by Olympiakos striker Henry Onyekuru.
“We had two training sessions with six players in camp and they responded well. We are still expecting re to come in later on Saturday,” Eguavoen said after Friday’s training in Abuja.
“Osimhen, it’s a pity that he will not be at the AFCON. He told me practically and pleaded with me and I saw reasons. I tried for hours to convince him but his health comes first which is my concern.
“When he spoke with me he was disappointed and he told me he was not OK. And did not want to go to the AFCON not fully 100 per cent fit.
“I gave him a few hours and called him back to see whether he will change his mind and he told me he will be going for evaluation on his face on January 4 and 5 before doctors can make a final decision.
With that injury, you have to consider his health. It’s a tough one.”
Eguavoen was also forced to replace Shehu Abdullahi, Leon Balogun and Emmanuel Dennis in his squad for the tournament.
Cyprus –based defender Shehu, who can slot easily into sections of the defence was replaced by Venezia defender Tyronne Ebuehi and England –based Semi Ajayi has returned to the group for Africa’s flagship football championship following injury to centre-back Leon Balogun.
Emmanuel Dennis who was not released for the tournament by Watford after they received his invitation for the tournament late which made way for Peter Olayinka.
On Dennis Eguavoen said, “Watford stopped him from featuring at the AFCON.
“Dennis told me he wanted to come for the tournament but Watford threatened him from coming. I feel bad that some of them like Paul Onuachu, Osimhen, Dennis won’t be there but I feel the 28-man list is good enough to go for the AFCON.
“I only informed Onyekuru once and he was excited same as Tyronne Ebuehi and Semi Ajayi.”