Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria have called up Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho after a difficult time in Italy, officials said Tuesday.
Osimhen had been sidelined for more than three months with a shoulder injury and was forced to apologise after images of him partying without wearing a mask were shared on social media, since his club-record transfer to Italy from French club Lille in September.
He was then hospitalised last month after a nasty fall in a defeat against Atalanta in which he hit his head, but scored on his reason this weekend in a 3-1 win over Bologna.
He has netted four goals in the qualifiers so far.
Nigeria visit Benin on March 27 before they host Lesotho on Lagos three days later to conclude the qualifying series for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be staged next year in Cameroon.
The Eagles lead their qualifying group with eight points, closely followed by Benin, who have seven points.
Sierra Leone have three points with only the top two teams advancing to the tournament proper.
Also called up to the 24-man squad are uncapped Sadiq Umar from Spanish second-tier club Almeria and Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble.
Umar has been on blistering form for Almeria, scored 14 goals as his club look set to return to the Spanish top flight.
Noble was the hero when Enyimba edged past fellow Nigerian club Rivers United on penalties to qualify for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.
He is the only player from the domestic league in the main squad and has been listed alongside Sparta Rotterdam ‘keeper Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho, who was the country’s No. 1 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Captain Ahmed Musa was a surprise inclusion as he has been a free agent since October and coach Gernot Rohr has often maintained he will not consider players without a club.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family