Super Eagles striker Sadiq Umar has addressed the controversy surrounding injury that led to his withdrawal from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) squad.
Sadiq clarified the situation, stating that he never faked his injury and followed the guidance of the Super Eagles medical team.
The 26-year-old striker, who had been in impressive form for his club Real Sociedad, making headlines with two remarkable goals just before the AFCON, was ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury. The Super Eagles’ medical team indicated that he would be sidelined for at least three weeks.
However, a video shared by Real Sociedad showed Sadiq Umar training at the club’s facility, raising questions about the severity of his injury with the forward even playing 18 minutes in Real Sociedad’s recent Copa Del Rey match against Osasuna.
The controversy intensified, especially after Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro mentioned that he relied on information provided by the team’s medical staff.
In response to the situation, Sadiq Umar has clarified that he did not fake his injury and followed the instructions given by the medical team.
The statement read; “It’s imperative for me to address the message I have received from fellow Nigerians, accusing me of pretending to be injured to leave the national team just before the start of the AFCON and return to my club.
“Here is a comprehensive explanation on the situation during the friendly game against Guinea. I experienced a significant impact from two Guinean defenders leading to a penalty is a favour for Nigeria.
“Despite the medical team recommending substitution for preventive measures, I insisted on continuing to play and complete the game. The following day, my knee was swollen and the Eagles medical team conducted a thorough examination revealing a meniscus injury.
“The manager decided to replace me based on the medical assessment, considering uncertainties about my fitness for the AFCON.”
“Upon returning to my club, I underwent thorough examination and the medical team revealed that I had only suffered a bruise and as a result I was cleared to resume training. I give special thanks to Allah and my club Real Sociedad for supporting my swift recovery and resuming to play.
“Representing Nigeria is always my priority. I will never take it for granted. I would gladly accept it if I could return to the team. I am sad that I’m not with the team but happy for the winning. I extend my best wishes to the Eagles in the ongoing AFCON.” he concluded.
Sadiq will be aiming to regain his spot in the starting lineup when Real Sociedad faces Celta Vigo on January 20 while the Super Eagles prepare for their last group game vs Guinea Bissau on Monday, January 22, 2024.
The clarification from the striker should help address the concerns raised by fans regarding the circumstances of his AFCON withdrawal.