Victor Osimhen cleared to play for Nigeria in AFCON semi-final
Victor Osimhen cleared to play for Nigeria in AFCON semi-final
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Osimhen cleared to play for Nigeria in AFCON semi-final

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen has been cleared to play for Nigeria in their their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final game against South Africa on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

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The CAF 2023 African Player of the Year was left behind when the squad travelled on Monday with a team statement saying he was suffering from a stomach discomfort.

Osimhen was then conditionally cleared on Tuesday but only to travel, before another statement confirmed he was available for the game.

"Victor Osimhen has been declared fit and available for selection in the semifinal clash against South Africa on Wednesday. He has joined the team in Bouaké and has trained with the squad today," the statement read.

There is still no indication of the exact nature of the abdominal discomfort or what might have caused it.

Osimhen has played a key role in Nigeria's run to the semifinals. He has been involved in four of the team's six goals, including scoring in the 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea in their opening game of the tournament.

The forward's energetic running, high press and aerial threat has provided the foundation on which Nigeria's organised defending is built around.

Coach Jose Peseiro still has plenty of quality options in the event Osimhem is not able to play the full 90 minutes, including in Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho, Nice's Terem Moffi and Trabzonspor's Paul Onuachu.

Onuachu has been the only substitute so far for Osimhen this tournament while Iheanacho and Moffi are yet to get any game time.

South Africa will be without midfielder Thapelo Maseko, who suffered a hamstring injury in the penalty shootout victory over Cape Verde.

Head coach Hugo Broos confirmed that the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder's tournament is over but that he would remain with the squad for the rest of the competition.

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