AFCON: Reactions trail Sadiq Umar’s absence after club match

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Users on X have begun to lament the absence of Super Eagles striker, Sadiq Umar, from the Eagles’ camp in the ongoing 2023 TotalEnergies CAF African Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire after he featured in a match for his club, Real Sociedad.

Umar was ruled out of the AFCON after he picked up a knee injury in Nigeria’s 2-0 friendly defeat to the Syli Stars of Guinea.

As contained in a statement on Friday, which was posted on X by the official Super Eagles account, it was announced that another Nigerian forward, Paul Onuachu, will replace Umar.

“Sadiq Umar is out of the AFCON 2023 squad due to injury and Paul Onuachu replaces him,” it tweeted.

However, a video of Umar training individually in Spain after his return, circulated on social media, leading to criticism of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Umar had featured in the club’s 2-0 win against Osasuna in a Copa del Rey encounter on Wednesday where he played for 18 minutes.

Responding to the situation, the NFF’s communication department in a statement released on Tuesday noted that Umar’s case was professionally handled by the medical team, thereby, denying allegations of negligence and unprofessional conduct concerning the withdrawal of Spain-based forward.

Reacting to whether Umar had faked his injury or whether the NFF was negligent and/or political in replacing the player, a user, @A__yabo, tweeted, “I don’t want to believe Umar Sadiq’s case is a wrong assessment from Nigeria’s medical team, it looks like a case of bigotry and politics.”

Another user, @Nwafresh, wrote, “Inside these two scenarios, one of it is true about Umar Sadiq. 1. He faked his injury in collaboration with the Super Eagles medical team for him to go back to Real Sociedad. 2. Our medical team don’t know what they’re doing.”

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@Danbatta_1, tweeted, “Umar Sadiq didn’t fake his injury. He insisted he can play at the AFCON as his injury wasn’t that serious, but the management and the medical team decided to replace him with Paul Onuachu. Yesterday, he played for his club Real Sociedad. Shame to the Management.”

@Ik007John, wrote, “Umar Sadiq is a totally different player from Osimhen. I wonder why the coach allowed him to leave camp when he can bring a different approach to his tactics. Shame.”

A tweep, @Auta_Musa_, had a different view.

He wrote, “Aribo overhyped. Chukwueze overrated. Paul Onuachi Overrated Iwobi Overhyped. Victor Osimhen overhyped. Umar Sadiq who is underrated appears to be the game changer against Osasuna last night, but then the management decided to remove him from the squad base on false medical report. We keep on telling you that Sadiq is better than all the Super Eagles attackers but out of hatred you were busy insulting him for leaving the #AFCON2023.”

@mhis_blessing, stated, “All of a sudden UMAR SADIQ haz become important in the Super Eagles. I thought y’all never liked him.”

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