The Napoli forward suffered a nasty facial injury that initially ruled him out of the continent’s biggest football showpiece
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has expressed hopes that there is a possibility that Victor Osimhen could be in the Nigerian squad for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
Osimhen has been Nigeria’s leading goal-getter since 2019 when former Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo announced his retirement from international football.
The 22-year-old was Nigeria’s highest goalscorer during the qualification for Cameroon 2021 and the group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying series.
But the youngster suffered multiple facial fractures on November 23 during an Italian Serie A clash against champions Inter Milan, which ruled him out of action for three months.
With the Afcon kicking off on January 6, there was no chance of Osimhen appearing at his second continental championship.
But a positive twist emerged on Wednesday after Osimhen returned to training, a mere three weeks after surgery.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti later revealed that the Italians are putting everything in place to ensure the Nigerian forward makes a quick and complete healthy comeback.
And Nigerian national team handler Rohr has voiced his hopes that Osimhen returns just in time for the Afcon.
“There may be a little hope,” Rohr told AFP, as per Eurosport.
“He resumed training yesterday (Wednesday). It’s going to be a race (against time).
“He has to do bodybuilding (even if) it was a facial injury.”
The return of Osimhen could boost Nigeria’s chances of lifting a fourth continental trophy.
The last time the Super Eagles won the Afcon was in South Africa 2013 when a Stephen Keshi-tutored side powered past Burkina Faso in the final.