The Portuguese tactician will not be able to unleash Nigeria’s most valuable player on the Selecao in Lisbon on Thursday
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro has revealed his displeasure at not having Victor Osimhen available to face Portugal in the international friendly match on Thursday.
Nigeria meet the 2016 European champions at a sold-out Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon in the first-ever international match between both countries.
Napoli forward Victor Osimhen has been ruled out of the encounter due to injury, with Cremonese’s Cyriel Dessers called up as his replacement.
However, reports from the Italian media suggest that Osimhen has no physical problem and that the 23-year-old snubbed the friendly against Portugal to avoid unnecessary risks.
On Wednesday at the pre-match press briefing, head coach Jose Peseiro moved to clear the back-and-forth reports regarding Nigeria’s most valuable player.
Peseiro disclosed that communication with Napoli doctors revealed that Osimhen picked up a back problem during Napoli’s 3-2 win at home to Udinese at the weekend.
The former Lille lad is expected to require around two weeks to fully recover from the discomfort, hence the need to stop him from travelling to Lisbon.
Peseiro confessed he would have loved to set Osimhen against the Portuguese.
Still, the former Sporting Lisbon coach is confident that other players can step up and deliver for Nigeria on Thursday.
“The doctor from Napoli sent a report to our (Nigerian team) doctor that after the match (against Udinese), Osimhen felt pain in his back,” Peseiro said. “And that he needs between ten and 15 days to recover.
“What can I do? Of course, I like to play with Osimhen. He’s a fantastic player. I like to play with the best players.
“But he’s not here. It can happen. I’m not happy about that. I’m sad. But now I don’t think about Victor Osimhen. For me, more important is the players I have here.”
Osimhen has not featured in any of the three friendly matches – Ecuador, Mexico, Algeria – that Nigeria has played under Jose Peseiro.
The Napoli forward, however, scored five goals in the two Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches he has appeared in.