Victor Osimhen, a Super Eagles striker, withdrew from the Cameroun 2022 African Cup of Nations yesterday to “let the injury he sustained during a Serie A game to heal properly.”
Osimhen, who was in Nigeria for the holidays, was believed to have tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, marking the former Wolfsburg striker’s second bout with the disease.
Coach Augustine Eguavoen included him to Nigeria’s 28-man team for the African Cup of Nations, but the U-17 World Cup champion has notified the coach that he would not be competing.
Osimhen’s club, Napoli, indicated yesterday that they ‘would not rule out’ a legal battle with the NFF after the player tested positive for COVID-19, which might keep him out of the Africa Cup of Nations.
According to football-italia.net, Osimhen went home for the holidays and was scheduled to see doctor Gianpaolo Tartaro, the surgeon who operated on his many face fractures last month, today in Naples.
Napoli hoped to utilize COVID-19 as a base to convince Nigeria to give up Osimhen, or at the very least keep him at the club until after the game with Juventus, before he decided to skip the African Cup of Nations.
“With an agreement between Napoli and the NFF, Osimhen could have played against Juventus on January 6 and then left immediately after the game,” club lawyer Enrico Lubrano told Radio Punto Nuovo.
“However, COVID complicates everything. The club can say the player is unavailable, but the situation must be verified by the Federation’s medic. What the FIFA rules do not state is the place where the medical verification is made.
“The FIFA rules note that if a player does not go on international duty because of injury, he cannot be used by his club during the same period that he would’ve played for his country, even if he recovers earlier.”
If Napoli requests that Osimhen be evaluated by Dr Tartaro and Nigeria refuses to allow him go, Lubrano was questioned if there may be a legal struggle.
“It is a realistic scenario. Medicine is not an exact science, one doctor can say one thing and another medic give a different opinion.
“FIFA give the final word to the Nigerian Federation. We won’t rule out taking legal action against the Nigerian Federation, seeking compensation.”