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African All Stars

Zambo Anguissa not sure why Covid-free Osimhen isn’t at the Afcon

22:45 GMT+3 09/01/2022
Victor Osimhen
The Nigeria striker’s Napoli teammate has told GOAL that he would have loved a Nations Cup showdown against his clubmate

Victor Osimhen’s reasons for not being at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, despite recovering from Covid-19, aren’t clear to his Napoli teammate Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Speaking after Cameroon’s opening Afcon victory over Burkina Faso, the on-loan Fulham midfielder acknowledged that he was in the dark as to why Osimhen hadn’t been able to join up with the Super Eagles despite recovering from coronavirus.

“I know he wanted to play at the Africa Cup of Nations and it’s a shame he’s not here,” Zambo Anguissa told GOAL. “I don’t know exactly why, I didn’t speak to him about this, but I can tell you that he’s a top player.

“I like playing with him, he’s a great player.”

Initially, a horror facial injury sustained against Internazionale in November had appeared to rule the 23-year-old striker out of the biennial showpiece.

However, he duly returned from injury last month, and announced himself fit to represent the Super Eagles.

A Covid-19 diagnosis had looked to put paid to Osimhen’s chances of appearing, with the striker then appearing to take himself out of contention, only for Napoli to announce on Sunday that the player had recovered from coronavirus and was fit to return to Italy from Nigeria.

With two days to go still until Nigeria’s opener against Egypt, it isn’t clear why the former LOSC Lille hitman wasn’t able to compete at the tournament.

“I would have liked for him to be here, because it’s important for him,” Zambo Anguissa added. “I know it was important for him, and he’s a great player.

“It would have been a great match, to have played against him, so it’s a shame.”

Zambo Anguissa was in action on Sunday as Cameroon defeated Burkina Faso at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde, with two Vincent Aboubakar penalties at the end of the first half cancelling out Gustavo Sangare’s opener.

Nigeria, who begin their campaign without a swathe of striking options, will face off against Mohamed Salah and Egypt in Garoua on Tuesday.

Next up for Cameroon, they must take on Ethiopia in the capital, before concluding their campaign against Cape Verde.