SSC Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen was the cynosure of all eyes on Tuesday, as he eventually turned up in the Lagos camp of the Super Eagles and quickly joined his colleagues in the Nigerian national team for preparations ahead of this weekend’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Benin Republic.
Palpable fear and worry had earlier hogged the minds of Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr and some team officials over the delayed arrival of Osimhen, as initial hints had emerged that the former VfL Wolfsburg of Germany, Sporting Charleroi of Belgium and Lille Metropole of France hitman would not be released by his Italian Serie A club.
With the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup top scorer having only recently returned from a scary clash of heads that left him suffering concussion and needed to be hospitalized overnight, just a week after he returned from a shoulder dislocation he copped during his last international duty back in November, Napoli appeared set to hold him back from the Eagles’ camp this time out.
However, megasportsarena.com reports, the lie was put to all those speculations on Tuesday evening, as Osimhen sauntered into the Eagles’ camp at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island in the company of his Chile 2015 colleague and third highest scorer, Samuel Chukwueze, who now plays for Villarreal of Spain.
It was double relief in the Eagles’ camp with the arrival as well of Chukwueze, as the left-footed winger’s availability had also been under speculation, but they both landed in style late Tuesday to take the total number of players in camp to 22, after which they were joined by Leicester City of England midfielder, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi.
Consequently, the arrivals of Chukwueze, Osimhen and Ndidi increased the number of players in camp to 23, with only Leicester attacker, Kelechi Iheanacho still expected up till late Tuesday, with his eventual emergence sure to set more tongues wagging in camp, especially after he set himself up for international duty with two goals, an assist and fantastic display last weekend.
Similarly, before jet out to Nigeria, Osimhen made a second-half appearance for Napoli against AS Roma but got a yellow card, Chukwueze helped Villarreal secure victory over Cadiz in LaLiga and Ndidi played all 90 minutes of Leicester’s English FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United at King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Osimhen’s availability was in serious doubt after he dislocated his shoulder on international duty in Benin City and Napoli officials allegedly blamed Eagles’ doctors for worsening the injury, which sidelined him for 93 days.
Chukwueze was also another huge doubt for the AFCON qualifiers after Spanish clubs refused both Kenneth Omeruo and Sadiq Umar to join the Eagles on account of travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, but the product of Diamond Football Academy of Umuahia also breezed into camp in style on Tuesday.
The highlight of the evening, though, went for his bosom friend and former fellow-cadet international, with a post on social media from the national team’s information unit celebrating the Napoli star with a message that read: “Update! Osimhen has arrived. #SoarSuperEagles #Team9jaStrong.”