The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released a press statement on Tuesday, confirming that Super Eagles' number one goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, is in contention for selection in Nigeria’s upcoming game against Angola.
The statement outlines that Nwabali will undergo a late fitness test on Wednesday to determine his readiness for Friday's match against the Palancas Negras.
Contrary to reports circulating in the Nigerian press, especially on social media, suggesting that the Chippa United goalkeeper would be unavailable and might miss the entire tournament, the NFF's announcement provides a more optimistic perspective.
Nwabali sustained an injury during the Round of 16 clash against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon when a Cameroonian attacker collided with him.
The 27-year-old was subsequently stretchered off the pitch and was replaced by Francis Uzoho in the final ten minutes of the game, which the Super Eagles won 2-0.
Nwabali training alone amid Super Eagles injury fears
Despite being present at training, Nwabali did not fully participate in group sessions with the rest of the squad.
Instead, he engaged in individual exercises, walking around the practice pitch and performing stretches.
Nwabali has gained popularity among fans since assuming the number one position, and concerns were raised about his availability, given his rising stock and calming influence at the back for the Super Eagles.
The NFF reported that team medics identified a mild ligament injury, and they have been diligently working on Nwabali in hopes that he can successfully undergo a late fitness test 48 hours before the crucial game against the Southern Africans.
The football house expressed optimism, stating, “Fingers crossed. If all goes well, he will be available for selection.”
The Super Eagles, eyeing a fourth African title, are set to face the Palancas Negras of Angola in a quarter-final clash, aiming for a coveted spot in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The highly anticipated game is scheduled for Friday at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, kicking off at 6 pm Nigeria time.