Super Eagles striker Sadiq Umar, has come out to clear the air on the injury controversy that ruled him out of the 2023 AFCON.
The Real Sociedad forward was named in coach Jose Peseiros’ 25-man squad for the tournament but was later replaced in the team by Trabzonspor striker Paul Onuachu.
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After being ruled out of the competition, Sadiq returned to his club, Real Sociedad, and a few days later, the La Liga side shared a video of him training at the club’s facility.
The 26-year-old striker eventually featured in the game as a second-half substitute, according to a report by Soccernet.
The Nigerian striker has come out to clear the air on the issue and released an official statement on his X handle.
The statement read, “I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Super Eagles for their outstanding victory against Ivory Coast. It is imperative for me to address the messages I have received from fellow Nigerians, accusing me of pretending to be injured to depart the national team just before the AFCON and return to my club.
“Clarifying the situation and providing a detailed account of events is essential. I want to express my deep love for Africa and my unwavering affection for Nigeria. Representing our great nation is consistently both a privilege and an honour. Here is a comprehensive explanation of the situation:
“During the friendly match against Guinea, I experienced a significant impact from two Guinean defenders, leading to a penalty in favour of Nigeria. Despite the medical team recommending substitution for preventive measures, I insisted on continuing to play and completed the game. The following day, my knee swelled.
“The Super Eagles’ medical team conducted a thorough examination, revealing a meniscus injury. Consequently, the manager decided to replace me based on the medical assessment, considering uncertainties about my fitness for the AFCON.
“Upon returning to my club and undergoing thorough examinations, the medical team revealed that I had only suffered a bruise, and as a result, I was cleared to resume training.
“I give special thanks to my club, Real Sociedad, for supporting my swift recovery and return to play.
“Representing Nigeria is always my priority; I will never take it for granted. I would gladly accept it if I could return to the team. I am sad that I am not with my colleagues but happy they are winning. I extend my best wishes to the Super Eagles in the ongoing African Nations Cup.”
Sadiq stated that he never faked his injury; rather, he only followed what the medical team told him.