Victor Osimhen has pulled out of the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) slated for Cameroon in January, sources told TheCable.
Earlier on Thursday, TheCable reported that the 22-year-old Napoli striker tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time in the year.
There have also been disagreements between Napoli and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over the match fitness of Osimhen, who was recently listed in Augustine Eguavoen’s 28-man AFCON squad.
The former Wolfsburg player is also still recovering from a facial injury he sustained during an Italian league game.
But a source close to the player told TheCable that Osimhen has informed Eguavoen to drop him from the squad going to Cameroon for the biennial tournament so he “could fully recover from the injury”.
Another source also said Osimhen opted out of the tournament to allow peace to reign between his club and the NFF.
“Osimhen has made a call to Eguavoen to pull out of the Nations Cup due to all the back and forth over his release for the tournament,” the source told TheCable.
“He is tired from all that’s been happening over his release for the AFCON.
“Yesterday, he was supposed to have left for his club to show his loyalty and to also play the Juventus match on January 6 but his PCR test came back positive.
“He feels devastated because since he came into Nigeria, he’s been keeping safe but now he tested positive. He has to recover first.”
Another source also told TheCable that the former Lille player pleaded with the Super Eagles interim coach, NFF president, and sports minister to allow him honour Napoli’s clash with Juventus before the AFCON.
“Osimhen left Napoli for Nigeria so as to discuss with Eguavoen, Pinnick and Sunday Dare to allow him play the Juventus match before coming for the AFCON,” the source added.
“The boy loves his nation and as well his club in Naples. So, he needs to let go of the AFCON for peace to reign. And for him to focus on his career.
“He is still young and will have so many opportunities to play other AFCON in the future.”
Osimhen was part of the 2019 bronze AFCON winning side in Egypt.