Joseph Aidoo
Joseph Aidoo

Joseph Aidoo's AFCON hopes shattered, faces long spell on sidelines

Black Stars and Celta Vigo defender, Joseph Aidoo, has come to terms with the grim possibility of an extended absence from the field as he is ruled out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, while his Spanish La Liga season may also have come to a premature end, after he had undergone a successful surgery at his Spain base last week.

The player suffered an ankle injury during Ghana's international friendly with Mexico at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, USA, on October 14. He subsequently left the Black Stars camp and returned to his club for further assessment and treatment.

Last Thursday, the 28-year-old Aidoo went under the knife at the Fremap Hospital in Vigo under the supervision of Dr Juan José García Cota, head of the club's medical services, to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon.

According to a Celta Vigo statement, the procedure went smoothly, entailing "reconstruction of the tendon with reinforced suture and the application of growth factors". It added that the central defender will be out of action for "a minimum of six to seven months", effectively extinguishing his aspirations of competing in the 2023 AFCON which is scheduled to commence on January 13, 2024 in Cote d'Ivoire.

The club pledged to support Aidoo on his arduous path to recovery.  And in a touching display of solidarity, Aidoo's Celta Vigo teammates donned T-shirts emblazoned with the message, "Forza Aidoo," signifying "Get Well, Aidoo," before their La Liga encounter with Atletico Madrid last Saturday.

Despite the challenging months ahead, Aidoo remains resolute and optimistic, as reflected in his Instagram post, where he expressed his determination to "work hard to return stronger than ever."

The defender who has made 17 appearances in all competitions for Ghana had gradually worked his way back into the starting line-up of the Black Stars after being overlooked by previous national team coaches until the arrival of caretaker manager Otto Addo and his technical advisor, Hughton, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Since Hughton's appointment in March, Aidoo has been a consistent presence as a centre-back in all six matches, starting in the last five games until his injury in the 24th minute of the match against Mexico.

A member of the Black Stars team that crashed out of the 2019 AFCON at the Round of 16, the defender had been on the path to securing a spot in Ghana's squad for the 2023 AFCON but he will now need to focus on his recovery, with the Spanish season set to conclude in May 2024.

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