By Victor Okoye
The Super Eagles are still awaiting the scan result of the team’s first choice goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali following an injury he picked up during Nigeria’s Round of 16 match against Cameroon.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nwabali was stretched off the pitch during their AFCON knockout stage clash at the Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny in Abidjan.
This was after the Chippa United goalkeeper and Cameroon’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou collided in the box in the 72nd minute.
Nwabali continued after initial treatment for about eight minutes before the technical team substituted him with Francis Uzoho in the 80th minute.
Babafemi Raji, the team’s media officer, confirmed to NAN on the sidelines of the team’s recovery training on Tuesday that Nwabali had sustained a knee injury.
Raji, however, allayed fears about the severity of the injury, adding, however, that the result of the scan was still being awaited.
“Yes, he had a test/scan yesterday, and we are waiting the result of the scan.
“I think he’s done well so far, so good with trying to recover from the injury, and the medics are really working hard on him.
“I don’t think it’s anything too serious that will rule him out of the tournament.
“But we just have to wait until we hear the result of the scan,” he said.
On the team’s training ahead of their quarter-finals clash with Angola, he said the players were mentally prepared ahead of the game.
He said that all the players are giving their 100 per cent in training to ensure victory.
“The boys are ready, as you can see. It’s about mental strength. Mentally, they are strong, and we are just taking it one game at a time,”he said.
Also speakinh, Jose Peseiro, the team’s head coach, said the players were pumped up ahead of the quarter-finals but need more training and practice before the D-day on Friday.
He said that he knew the Angolans very well, including the players, coach, and their style of play, adding that they are a very formidable side.
“They play very well and finish first in their group. I am also aware of the good atmosphere that has been created around the team.
“They are good opponents, but our team is very good at the moment.
“We will do our very best as my players continue to work well in training just like they have done today.
“The unused players trained very well, while the other regular players on the squad recovered, which is very necessary,” he said.
He also confirmed that the team was still awaiting the result of Nwabali’s scan, adding that it would be difficult to ascertain the degree of the injury at the moment.
“We will assess the state of his injury in the next 24 to 48 hours.
“But I am hoping that he will be fit for the next match. I want to play him, and the players want him to play,” he said.
The two-hour training session, which held at École Nationale de la Police, Abidjan, saw a total of 22 players put through their paces.
While Nwabali, forward Victor Osimhen and William Troost-Ekong all sat out of the training.
On the reason for Osimhen and Troost-Ekong non-participation in the team’s training, Raji explained that it was a routine and precautionary procedure meant to protect the players.
“If you’ve visited our camp, especially during tournaments like these, you will understand that after matchdays, players that started the game don’t get to train so hard.
“So, it’s a routine, especially for players that complain of one or two aches and pains.
“It’s a normal routine, and by tomorrow, they will get back to full training,” he said.
On Osimhen’s anti-doping test, he explained that it was also a random routine exercise by CAF.
He said that it was Kelechi Iheanacho who was randomly picked for the test after the Cameroon game, and not Osimhen as some reports making the rounds suggested.
He confirmed that Osimhen was also randomly picked, stressing that this was after the group stage game against hosts Coted’Ivoire.
He said that all players came out clean after the tests were conducted.
NAN reports that the Super Eagles’ take on Angola in a blockbuster clash on Friday at Stade de Félix Houphouët Boigny in Abidjan.(NAN)