February 06, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s bid for a place in the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations final has been hit with uncertainty as star striker Victor Osimhen is facing doubts over his availability for the upcoming semi-final clash against South Africa. Osimhen, currently the African Footballer of the Year, is dealing with a stomach complaint, as confirmed by officials. With the highly anticipated semi-final match against South Africa scheduled for Wednesday, Osimhen’s potential absence could significantly impact Nigeria’s chances of progressing to the final.
Osimhen has been one of the standout performers for the team throughout the tournament. Renowned for his relentless running and exceptional work rate, Osimhen has played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s success thus far. He has been directly involved in most of Nigeria’s six goals, including scoring the lone goal in the opening 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea. Losing the reigning African Player of the Year would force coach Jose Peseiro to explore alternative attacking options.
The Nigerian Football Federation has confirmed that Osimhen did not travel with the squad from Abidjan to Bouake, the venue for the semi-final match. The team’s medical staff continues to closely monitor his condition, with a member of the medical team remaining in Abidjan to provide necessary care. Osimhen’s participation in the semi-final will depend on his clearance, which is expected to be determined by Wednesday morning. The uncertainty surrounding his availability has left fans and the coaching staff anxiously awaiting a positive update.
Should Osimhen be unable to make it in time for the crucial semi-final clash, coach Peseiro will need to consider alternative options in the attacking department. Players such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu, and Terem Moffi could be called upon to fill the void. These players will need to step up and deliver their best performances to ensure Nigeria’s attacking line is clinical against the impressive Ronwen Williams in the South African goal.
As the countdown to the semi-final clash continues, Nigeria will be hoping for positive news regarding Osimhen’s availability. The Super Eagles will need to rally together and adapt their game plan to overcome the challenge posed by South Africa and secure a place in the 2024 AFCON final if Osimhen cannot play.
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Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.