Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen missing 2021 Afcon in Cameroon after successful surgery that rules him out of action for three months

Italian club Napoli have announced Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen is set to be sidelined for three months with a facial injury.

It means the 22-year-old will miss the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, which kicks off in fewer than seven weeks’ time on 9 January.

The Serie A side said the striker had surgery on his cheekbone and eye socket on Tuesday, having sustained fractures in the 3-2 defeat by Inter Milan on Sunday.

Osimhen, who is Napoli’s top scorer this season with nine goals in 14 appearances, was substituted in the 52nd minute following a nasty clash of heads with Inter’s Milan Skriniar.

“Titanium plates and screws were used in the operation,” said a statement on the Napoli website.

“The player is doing well and will remain under observation for the next few days.”

The news will be a blow for both club and country, with Osimhen in a rich vein of form at the moment.

He has scored five Serie A goals and four more in the Europa League for Napoli this season, and Osimhen netted four times in six games to help Nigeria reach Africa’s World Cup play-offs next March.

He also finished as joint-top scorer in qualifying for the delayed Nations Cup, with five goals.

Meanwhile, Italian surgeon Gianpaolo Tartaro has revealed his admiration for Victor Osimhen after meeting the Napoli forward during the surgical procedure done to correct the multiple fractures the youngster suffered to his face on Sunday.

Tartaro, a plastic and aesthetic surgeon, led the team of specialists who successfully operated on Osimhen on Monday.

The Italian doctor admitted he found a ‘special boy’ in Osimhen.

Tartaro revealed he told Osimhen that, even though the surgery done on the Nigerian striker was an unusual procedure, it was a success. The Italian Professor is convinced Osimhen is healthy enough to go on and win the league title.

“I also told Victor, a special boy, that it was not a normal operation,” Tartaro told Corriere dello Sport, as per TuttoNapoli.

“But it’s done and now I’m asking him to go and win the Scudetto. “

Napoli stated after the surgery that Osimhen would be out of action for three months, ruling him out of about 16 matches for the club and the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January for Nigeria.

Professor Tartaro confirmed that it would be difficult for the Super Eagles star to participate in the continental championship as he would not train for at least two months.

Tartaro added: “A real training, with contact, (Osimhen) will not be able to do it for eight to nine weeks.

“It is impossible to think that he will go to the African Cup: his body and his face they came out distorted by the impact.”

Osimhen is Napoli’s leading goal scorer this term, with nine goals in 13 appearances in the Italian Serie A and Europa League combined.

The former Lille ace also topped the goal chart for Nigeria during the World Cup qualifying campaign with dour strikes.


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