Coach Jose Peseiro of Nigeria stated on Wednesday that reports that striker Umar Sadiq would return to action for Real Sociedad mere days after withdrawing from the Africa Cup of Nations due to injury had left him “confused.”
Peseiro responded to reporters in Abidjan, “I am also confused,” when asked how the 26-year-old could have already recovered from a knee injury that he believed would prevent him from participating in the AFCON.
"According to the medical staff’s report, he has sustained an injury from which he will not recover for at least fifteen days.
“The club received the report and stated that he must return to recuperate; they even speculated that he might require surgery.”
“Our staff and I met and agreed that the player should remain, but since we only had one day to replace him, we made the decision to do so on the final day.”
On Sunday, in their inaugural match of the Cup of Nations, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria drew 1-1. In place of Sadiq, giant forward Paul Onuachu entered the game as a substitute.
This result has placed some strain on Peseiro’s squad as they prepare to face hosts Ivory Coast in their second match on Thursday.
Peseiro expressed his mixture of happiness and sadness over his absence, stating, “I am relieved that he has made a speedy recovery.”
This week, Real Sociedad head coach Imanol Alguacil speculated that the player’s return to his club was at the the request of the Nigerian Football Federation, thereby ensuring his likely availability to meet Osasuna in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Alhassan Yusuf, a midfielder who was substituted for Wilfred Ndidi in the opening encounter due to injury, will not face Ivory Coast. Yusuf came off injured in that match.
Peseiro disclosed, “He is not severely injured, which is good news, but he is not ready to play tomorrow.”
Ivory Coast is concerned about the fitness of winger Simon Adingra and striker Sebastien Haller, both of whom missed the opening 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau.
Simon and Sebastien have resumed their training regimens. Coach Jean-Louis Gasset stated prior to the first AFCON match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria since the Super Eagles’ 2-1 victory in the 2013 quarterfinals, “They are on the right track.”
“Before determining whether or not they are fit to play, we will involve the medical staff and the players themselves in a discussion.”