Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen has tested negative for COVID-19, Napoli announced on Sunday.
Osimhen tested negative for COVID-19 days after his withdrawal from the Nigeria Super Eagles squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) January 9, 2022
Osimhen was primed to lead Nigeria’s attack at the 2021 AFCON which begins on Sunday, January 10 before Napoli announced that the striker had tested positive for COVID-19.
He was, however, included in the Nigeria Super Eagles squad for the tournament – with the team being hopeful for his recovery before the competition starts.
But Napoli objected to his inclusion and declined to release the former Lille striker to play Nigeria in the 2021 AFCON tournament. The Italian side subsequently threatened to institute a legal action against Nigeria.
“FIFA give the final word to the Nigerian Federation. We won’t rule out taking legal action against the Nigerian Federation, seeking compensation,” Napoli lawyer Enrico Lubrano told Radio Punto Nuovo.
Like Osimhen, fellow Nigeria striker Emmanuel Dennis of Watford and Odion Ighalo of Saudi Arabian club Al Shabab also pulled out of Nigeria squad for AFCON 2021 for unresolved issues with their clubs.
Majid Al-Marzouki, an official of Al Shabab, said Nigeria’s official request for Ighalo’s participation in the tournament was too late for consideration.
Nigeria defenders Leon Balogun and Shehu Abdullahi were also withdrawn for the Super Eagles squad for injury reasons.
Eguavoen has since replaced the missing players and the Nigerian team is in Cameroon to kick off their AFCON campaign against the Pharaohs of Egypt in the opening game on Group D on Tuesday, January 11.