Victor Osimhen proved Napoli’s doctors wrong as he makes it into Nigeria AFCON Squad, Odion Ighalo was not left out

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Victor Osimhen has made it into Nigeria’s squad for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) despite pressure from Napoli’s doctors to stay away from competitive football for at least 90 days.

Recall that Osimhen got injured on November 21, 2021, during a Serie A match between Napoli and Inter Milan. The fractured eye socket and cheekbone injury have been a threat to his desire to play in the 2022 AFCON.

Futballnews has reported that Osimhen’s doctors at Napoli had confirmed that it would take the 22-year-old Nigerian striker at least three months to fully recover from the injury.

However, weeks after undergoing successful surgery to treat the injury and being given a protective mask, Victor Osimhen declared himself available for the prestigious African tournament contrary to his doctors’ advice.

Victor Osimhen proved Napoli's doctors wrong as he makes it into Nigeria AFCON Squad, Odion Ighalo was not left out
Victor Osimhen with his protective mask.

On Saturday, December 25, 2021, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in conjunction with the team’s caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen, released the country’s final 28-man list for the tournament which will commence on January 9 in Cameroon.

The NFF and the coach selected Victor Osimhen alongside 9 other forwards which include 32-year-old Odion Ighalo who has retired from the national team for almost two years before he was recalled recently.

Ighalo who made his debut for the national team on March 25, 2015, has played 36 games and has scored 16 goals. He is currently playing for Shabab after spending a year on loan at Manchester United.

Odion Ighalo in action for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
File photo of Odion Ighalo in action for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The squad also contains four goalkeepers, nine defenders, and just five midfielders including Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City, and Kelechi Nwakali who captained Nigeria to win the 2015 FIFA under-17 World Cup.

According to a statement from the NFF, all the invited players, aside from the UK-based players, are expected to report in Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja on 29th December 2021.

While the players based in the UK are expected to “start arriving on Monday, 3rd January”, which is less than 6 days before the commencement of the tournament.

Nigeria are in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan, and debutants Guinea Bissau. The Super Eagles are expected to commence their campaign in the tournament against Egypt on January 11, at 17:00.

Below is Nigeria full squad for 2022 AFCON including Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo:

Victor Osimhen in action for Nigeria.
Victor Osimhen in action for Nigeria.

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Olisa Ndah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)

Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Galsgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Emmanuel Dennis (Watford FC, England)

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