Brave Super Eagles: Troost-Ekong, Osimhen, and three stars who played AFCON 2023 final with injuries

Super Eagles of Nigeria emerged as the runners-up of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, falling short in a 2-1 loss to the tournament hosts, as reported by Soccernet.ng.

Throughout the game, it became evident that some of the Nigerian players were not at their peak fitness, having picked up injuries during the tournament, and were in the process of recovering.

William Troost-Ekong openly acknowledged his struggle with fitness, while Victor Osimhen displayed immense dedication to the team’s cause despite facing challenges with his recovery.

Soccernet.ng sheds light on the players who showcased remarkable resilience by playing through injuries in the final match of the competition:

William Troost-Ekong:
The Super Eagles captain notably refrained from participating in the team’s recovery sessions during the AFCON tournament.

He was also substituted by Kenneth Omeruo during the match against Guinea-Bissau. Troost-Ekong addressed rumours of his injury during the Round of 16 game against Cameroon, expressing determination to manage himself and be ready for subsequent matches.

Victor Osimhen:
Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, observed to be struggling with his recovery throughout the tournament, nevertheless continued to contribute to the team’s efforts.

Despite facing setbacks, Osimhen scored Nigeria’s opening goal of the tournament and demonstrated resilience despite several of his goals being disallowed.

Zaidu Sanusi:
During the tournament, Porto FC defender Zaidu Sanusi was rumoured to have sustained a shoulder injury, resulting in his absence from Nigeria’s clash against South Africa.

Bright Osayi-Samuel replaced him in the lineup. Upon returning to his club, Sanusi suffered an ACL injury during Porto’s match against Estrela, ruling him out for several months.

Ola Aina:
Nottingham Forest defender Ola Aina received praise for his performances at the 2023 AFCON, earning recognition as the best right-back in the tournament.

However, concerns were raised about his performance in the final against the Ivory Coast, with reports later confirming that he had sustained an injury during the semi-final clash against South Africa.

🚨OLA AINA PLAYED AFCON 2023 FINAL WITH AN INJURY

Forest boss, Nuno Espirito Santos, during his presser ahead of Aston Villa clash shed light on why Ola Aina struggled in the final against Cote d’Ivoire (@soccernet_ng )

“Ola got injured in the semi-final and played the final… pic.twitter.com/PuVZsMH2PH

— Ayomide Oguntimehin (@ayo_oguntimehin) February 24, 2024

Stanley Nwabali:
Nigerian goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali showcased his talent throughout the tournament but was substituted during the game against Cameroon due to a knock.

Despite playing through discomfort, Nwabali continued to feature in subsequent matches, demonstrating his commitment to the team despite injury concerns.

Ayomide Oguntimehin

Ayomide Oguntimehin is a CAF-accredited sports journalist and an Editor at Soccernet.ng, with a proven track record in conducting interviews with Super Eagles stars such as William Troost-Ekong, Taiwo Awoniyi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ademola Lookman, and many others. He has also made a significant impact in breaking transfer news stories.

Grounded in video editing, video journalism, social media management, and content strategy, Ayomide brings a wealth of expertise to his work.

With a Bachelor’s degree in English Language from Adeyemi College of Education and a Master’s Degree in School Library and Media Technology from the University of Ibadan, Ayomide is well-prepared to excel in the field.

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