Osimhen, Awoniyi, and Four Players Ruled Out of Nigeria’s Friendlies Against Ghana and Mali

Osimhen, Awoniyi, and Four Players Ruled Out of Nigeria’s Friendlies Against Ghana and Mali

Ero Samson
updated at March 19, 2024 at 10:50 AM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Ghana logo
Mali logo
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Taiwo Awoniyi logo
T. Awoniyi
Nottingham Forest logoFNigeria logo
Gabriel Osho logo
G. Osho
Luton Town logoDEngland logo
Tyronne Ebuehi logo
T. Ebuehi
Empoli logoDNigeria logo
Morocco logo
Brahim Díaz logo
B. Díaz
Real Madrid logoMMorocco logo
  • The Super Eagles are poised to face off against Ghana and Mali during the International window
  • Victor Osimhen and a flurry of elite players of the Nigerian team have been ruled out of the games
  • Sports Brief takes a look at a list of Super Eagles players poised to miss these international friendlies

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to return to the field for the first time since the thrilling 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final in Ivory Coast.

Despite currently lacking a permanent head coach, the Nigerian team is gearing up to take on their West African neighbours, Ghana and Mali, in the vibrant city of Marrakech, Morocco.

Scheduled for the 22nd and 26th of March, these fixtures mark the final friendly international window before the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series.

Nigeria, Victor Osimhen, Injury, Serie A, Napoli, Super Eagles
Victor Osimhen is set to miss Nigeria's international friendlies after suffering an injury with Napoli. Image: Alessandro Sabattini.
Source: Getty Images

However, as the 26 players selected by the Nigeria Football Federation prepare to assemble for these crucial matches, the team has been hit hard by injuries. Regrettably, four players have been confirmed to be sidelined for these upcoming fixtures.

Sports Brief provides an insight into the unfortunate list of players unavailable for Nigeria's upcoming friendly encounters against Ghana and Mali.

Players ruled out of Super Eagles' games

Victor Osimhen

The star striker has been grappling with a series of injuries and minor setbacks since his outstanding performance at the AFCON. Despite making a return to action with his clubside, Napoli, the team's coach, Francesco Calzona, has consistently hinted at concerns over the forward's fitness.

In Napoli's recent Serie A fixture, Osimhen was left on the bench without playing. When questioned about this decision, coach Calzona, as reported by Football Italia, explained that the player was dealing with inflammation from a previous injury.

It is hoped that during the remainder of the international break, the determined forward will use the time to regain his peak condition.

Tyronne Ebuehi

The 28-year-old received a call-up after missing out on the AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast. However, his hopes were dashed when the talented defender sustained an injury during Empoli's Serie A match against Bologna.

An official statement from the club confirmed that the defender suffered a partial tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and is likely to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Taiwo Awoniyi

The 26-year-old forward now finds himself alongside his compatriot on the sidelines. Nottingham Forest coach Nuno Espirito Santo, speaking to the media as reported by Punch Sports, described the Nigerian's injury as a "big blow."

Awoniyi had only recently made a comeback from a lengthy three-month injury layoff. The former Union Berlin striker is now facing another spell on the sidelines, with his return to action not expected until at least the end of April.

Gabriel Osho

The Luton Town defender is among the players set to miss the upcoming friendly matches for the Super Eagles.

He sustained a significant injury during a Premier League match against Crystal Palace. Despite Luton's coach, Robert Edwards, playing down the seriousness of the injury, the Nigerian defender has not recovered in time for the international window.

The NFF and the current Super Eagles leadership now face the daunting task of finding replacements for these injured players.

Nigerian defender urges NFF to emulate Morocco

In a previous report, Sports Brief mentioned that a defender eligible to play for Nigeria has called on the NFF to take a cue from Morocco in light of Brahim Diaz's switch of allegiance.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) recently succeeded in securing the international allegiance of the Real Madrid attacker, who had previously represented the Spanish national team.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)