Soccer

Osimhen out of Nigeria friendlies amidst Napoli Covid uncertainty, Onuachu in

The 21-year-old will play no part in the Super Eagles’ upcoming international fixtures

Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen will not be taking part in Nigeria’s friendly games against Tunisia and Algeria during the international break, with the Nigeria Football Federation stating that he has been excused.

While the exact reason for his absence has not been publicised, Napoli learned this week that midfielders Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas had contracted coronavirus, with the squad’s other players returning negative tests.

The club later announced that both playing and coaching staff had been placed under isolation, throwing Sunday’s Serie A clash with Juventus into doubt.

“@victorosimhen9 has been excused from @NGSuperEagles’ games against Algeria and Tunisia. His replacement is Paul Onuachu,” read a post on the official Super Eagles Twitter handle

The seven-time capped player was in the initial squad alongside Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Cyriel Dessers, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Kalu and Chidera Ejuke as the attacking options.

Osimhen joined Napoli from Lille in a big-money deal thought to be worth up to €80 million and has since been the focus of attention at the San Paolo. He made his debut in the Serie A season opener against Parma, winning plaudits for his impact with the short time he spent on the pitch.

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He then went on to start the next match at home to Genoa, playing the entire 90 minutes and providing an assist for Piotr Zielinski’s goal with the game ending 6-0. The match made bigger headlines than the scoreline after 14 Genoa players tested positive for Covid-19.

Genoa’s match with Torino has subsequently been cancelled.

Osimhen’s replacement, Onuachu, has been having a good scoring run in the Belgian Jupiler League with Genk. His goal in Saturday’s draw at Waasland-Beveren was his seventh of the season in his seventh game which sees him lead the top scorer’s charts.

The 26-year-old has won seven caps for Nigeria and has scored one goal, which came in a 1-0 friendly victory over Egypt on March 26, 2019.


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