Strikers Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis will play no part in Nigeria’s 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying return leg against Sierra Leone in Freetown on Tuesday Eagles boss Gernot Rohr has revealed.
Also listed as doubtful are the duo of Leon Balogun and Samuel Chukwueze who were substituted in the first leg in Benin and are battling with small niggles.
Napoli club record signing Osimhen scored Nigeria’s second against the Leone Stars and his fourth in the qualifying series, but was substituted in the second half with a serious looking shoulder injury.
Initial tests have shown, however, that the injury was not as severe as feared and the 21-year-old would not require surgery.
Osimhen, however, is expected back at Napoli to start his recuperation and won’t be available for the encounter in Freetown.
Dennis, meanwhile, missed the first leg with a swollen ankle suffered in training and is yet to fully recover.
“Osimhen is probably going to be out because he had a shoulder injury, I think it is going to be very difficult for him to be there in Freetown,” Rohr told The Punch before the team’s departure for Freetown.
“Dennis had a little injury in the last training session, his ankle is swollen and he cannot play, he can only run.
“The two players I took out (Leon Balogun and Samuel Chukwueze) were injured. Balogun had a little knock but he is okay. He did a little training with the team, it’s not painless but he will be okay.
“Chukwueze has a pain in the groin and could only work in the practise today but we hope to get him back for the next game.”
The Super Eagles will be looking to restore some pride with victory against the Leone Stars in the return leg after a catastrophic collapse in the second half saw them ship in three goals in eighteen minutes to draw 4-4 having led 4-0 after just 30 minutes in the first leg.
Nigeria lead Group L of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series with seven points and can seal a place in Cameroon with victory in Freetown on Tuesday if Lesotho drop points at home to Benin in the group’s other game.