Super Eagles Striker Victor Osimhen faces a race to be fully ready for the postponed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Ivory Coast next year, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The 24-year-old player suffered a moderate lesion in the biceps femoris region of his right thigh during the 2-2 draw for Nigeria in an international friendly against Saudi Arabia on October 13 and will miss the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Lesotho and Zimbabwe next month.
Following his injury, Osimhen missed Napoli’s last two matches against Hellas Verona and Union Berlin.
According to Il Mattino via Tutto Mercato Web, Osimhen is still pursuing his recovery plan and will undergo a new round of medical tests during the international November break from November 17-20.
The report also stated that it was not possible for Osimhen to recover before Napoli’s match against Atalanta on November 25, and that his club would not want to force him to return early. In this regard, it is expected that he will not be around for another month.
This means he is scheduled to return to action from 25 December, 19 days before the start of AFCON, which runs from 13 January to 11 February in Ivory Coast.
Osimhen missed the final event of the tournament in Cameroon due to a facial injury following a clash of heads with former Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar.
His absence could deprive Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro of his biggest attacking threat in the tournament.
The former Lille striker finished the AFCON qualifying series as top scorer with 10 goals; This puts him in tight contention for the 2023 African Footballer of the Year award after he scored the Italian side’s first goal with his goals for Napoli last season. Serie A championship in 33 years.
Meanwhile, Osimhen is reportedly unimpressed by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis’ recent statements regarding contract renewal talks.
“It would be disappointing if things change after a handshake,” De Laurentiis said, implying that the Nigerian player changed his mind after agreeing to new contract terms with the club.
Osimhen has less than two years left on his contract at Napoli and a new deal is looking increasingly likely, especially after he was recently mocked on the club’s official TikTok page, which sparked a backlash in the Campania capital.
As reported by Il Mattino via TMW, Osimhen and his manager Roberto Calenda do not like De Laurentiis’ recent comments and no new date has been set to resume contract negotiations.
The striker does not accept the president’s claims, thinking that an agreement will never be reached.