Nigeria Down Two Star Players Ahead of AFCON

 Nigeria Down Two Star Players Ahead of AFCON

One of the most important football events of the year – 2022 that is – will certainly be AFCON, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations that was postponed from last summer to the first months of next year. Millions all over Africa will keep one eye on the TV screen and another on the Betway online soccer betting app in anticipation of the events.

One of the favorites of the upcoming AFCON is Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, with several players on international duty as we speak. But their chances of winning are reduced by them missing several key players ahead of the tournament.

Kingsley Michael

Kingsley Dogo Michael has spent his entire senior career playing with the Italian Serie A side Bologna that he joined in 2017, at the age of 18. Since then, he only appeared in three league games with the club, spending most of his career on loan at various Italian teams. This means that he has accumulated a lot of experience as a central midfielder.

Kingsley Michael is unlikely to be able to join the Super Eagles at AFCON 2022 because of an injury he suffered in October: a horrific blow suffered in Bologna’s game against Udinese in October has left him with a broken leg that required surgery. While initially, it seemed that it would only take him six weeks to recover, it seems that the injury has sidelined him for several months, so he won’t be able to step on the pitch in January.

Paul Onuachu

Onuachu started his football career with Ebedei, a subsidiary of the Dutch club Midtjylland. Impressive as a youth, he joined the Dutch side in 2012 and stayed there until 2019 when he was transferred to Belgian team Genk. In his years in Belgium, he played 75 league games and scored 52 times.

Onuachu suffered a hamstring injury in Genk’s recent game against Royal Antwerp in Belgium’s top-flight league, which doesn’t automatically rule him out of the AFCON but puts him in a “doubtful” category.

Who will play?

23-year-old midfielder Kelechi Nwakali has started his senior career with Premier League club Arsenal – or better said, spending his formative years on loan with various teams – he joined   Spanish side Huesca in the Segunda División. Nwakali has been repeatedly overlooked by the Super Eagles’ manager but as he has been replaced recently, he has a good chance of finally joining the team – especially after his great performance at a U-17 level.

Victor Osimhen will also probably return to the Super Eagles in time for AFCON. The Napoli striker has suffered a nasty injury – a left cheekbone and orbital fracture in Napoli’s clash against Milan in November. He underwent surgery but he recovered and returned to training at the beginning of December. Hopefully, he will get a clean bill of health before AFCON 2022 begins in January.

Alice Nachilembe

Alice Nachilembe is a Journalist who yearns for a better country with leaders being accountable to their mandate without oppressing the governed.