Nigeria's hopes for a successful campaign in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have encountered a setback as Victor Osimhen, their star striker, faces uncertainty ahead of the semi-final clash against South Africa.
The striker was unable to join the team's travel to Bouaké due to abdominal discomfort, sparking concerns about his availability for the crucial match. Osimhen, who plays for Napoli, was taken off on a stretcher during Nigeria's quarter-final victory over Angola, and his absence could impact the team's offensive capabilities.
In a statement released by the Super Eagles on Monday, it was confirmed that Osimhen remained in Abidjan, under close observation by the medical staff. The statement also mentioned that if he receives medical clearance by the following morning, he may rejoin the squad before 5 pm on the day of the match. The uncertainty surrounding Osimhen's participation adds an element of suspense and concern for Nigeria, who are considered favorites to lift the AFCON trophy.
Osimhen has been a key figure for Nigeria in the tournament, featuring in all five matches but has faced a goal-scoring drought since the opening game against Equatorial Guinea. His potential absence would be a significant blow to the Super Eagles' quest for a fourth AFCON title.
Nigeria last won the tournament in 2013, and reaching the final would mark a considerable achievement, considering their failures to qualify in two previous editions and a last-16 exit two years ago.
The Super Eagles will face South Africa in the semi-final, and a victory would propel them to the final against either Ivory Coast or DR Congo. The team's statement indicates the cautious approach taken by the medical staff, emphasizing the need for Osimhen's well-being before considering his return to the squad.