Nigeria’s AFCON camp: Chukwueze, Boniface in, Osimhen expected

22 players have so far reported to camp as Nigeria scales up its preparations ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The Super Eagles are currently in Dubai, where members of the 25-man squad are expected to camp for a week before flying to the Ivory Coast.

The team opened camp earlier in the week, with players joining from their various clubs in the days that followed. As of Thursday morning, the Super Eagles’ X (formerly known as Twitter) page issued an update confirming the presence of 22 players.

These include AC Milan winger Samuel Chukwueze, whose club sought permission from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to delay his arrival.

Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili, who is on the books of South African side Chippa United, also reported to camp on Wednesday, while Francis Uzoho, Sadiq Umar and Alhassan Yusuf joined on Thursday.

Osimhen, two others left to join

Other players who are already in camp are captain Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo, Moses Simon, Alex Iwobi, Victor Boniface and Saidu Sanusi.

Meanwhile, reigning CAF Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen is expected to join his international teammates later on Thursday. The Napoli forward and two others – William Troost-Ekong and Kelechi Iheanacho – are the only players yet to report to camp.

Troost-Ekong was released late by Greek side PAOK after featuring in the club’s impressive 4-0 thumping of OFI in the league on Wednesday. However, the 30-year-old is expected to move straight to Abu Dhabi after his club commitments.

Also, Iheanacho is currently battling a muscle injury, which has demanded extra assessment by the doctors of Leicester City. The forward missed the Foxes’ last Championship game against Huddersfield but is expected to recover in time to play a part in the AFCON.

It is unconfirmed when Iheanacho will report to Nigeria’s camp, but the player is due to join before the tournament kicks off.

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.