On Wednesday, concerns grew in the Super Eagles, Africa Cup of Nations camp, over the health of Umar Sadiq, the Forward had complained about pain and stiffness in his left thigh.
Sadiq made the final 25-man cut and even if only as the third choice striker, the 26 year-old was determined to show up for the team.
His first appearance at the Cup of Nations was in Cameroon, two years earlier, and despite the hoopla over his inclusion, he gradually turned many of the naysayers to fans in the course of that tournament.
Sadiq is one of the few players whose inclusion in Jose Peseiro’s team for the Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire stirred a public discourse.
Indeed, the Forward had only just found his form after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury – missed 45 games with a cruciate ligament tear – and subsequent goal drought and limited game time.
However, his profile fit Peseiro’s choice for an option off the bench and his inclusion, could well have been justified after his performance in the practice game against the local Abi Dhabi team, Al Gharbia FC, and in the friendly against Guinea.
It was in the latter that Sadiq reportedly suffered this latest setback, and what seemed a minor concern at the time, has now effectively ruled him out of the tournament.
The first sightings of the player and his concern was during the team’s arrival from Lagos.
Perhaps negligence was also another contributing factor following the long trip from the UAE, through all the stop overs, and the Super Eagles eventual function in Lagos may have aggravated the injury.
He grimaced, winced and hobbled, clearly showing discomfort as he walked to the team bus, through the doors of the arrival wing at the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport in Abidjan.
Later that day in training it was obvious he would sit out the session; train apart from the squad.
The team physio monitored his 50meters walk and light sprint after he had complained of stiffness in his left thigh – they had him strapped with a bandage.
By Thursday morning, the Forward had undergone a scan and the outcome, later that evening, turned out grim.
Albeit he journeyed with the team from the Pullman hotel base to the training facility, a distance of about 11 minutes drive, Sadiq knew his fate and unlike on Wednesday, he lay on the exercise mat pondering.
From our fillers, it was a meniscus related injury, but it’s uncertain if his treatment will require surgery.
When BRL broke the news of his health situation and the attendant fears of its impact, Sadiq’s conversations with the physio and later Jose Peseiro seemed reassuring and the worst was not considered.
However now, 48 hours, before Nigeria’s opening game of the Cup of Nations against Equatorial Guinea, a replacement has been named and Umar Sadiq will depart Côte d’Ivoire and return to his Club base in Spain for further examination and commencement of his treatment.
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