3rd January, 2022
3rd January, 2022
Victor Osimhen’s participation at next month’s the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon now hangs in the balance as Napoli has said it ‘will not rule out’ a legal battle with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) after the striker reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and unable to board a plane to Italy.
The striker had returned home (Lagos) for the Christmas break and was meant to undergo a specialist check-up with Napoli doctor Gianpaolo Tartaro today in Naples, the surgeon who operated on his multiple facial fractures last month.
Now Napoli aim to use the situation in order to force Nigeria to give up Osimhen for the Africa Cup of Nations, or at least leave him at the club until after the game with Juventus.
“With an agreement between Napoli and the Nigerian Federation, Osimhen could’ve played against Juventus on January 6 and then left immediately after the game,” club lawyer Enrico Lubrano told Radio Punto Nuovo.
“However, COVID complicates everything. The club can say the player is unavailable, but the situation must be verified by the Federation medic. What the FIFA rules do not state is the place where the medical verification is made.
“The FIFA rules note that if a player does not go on international duty because of injury, he cannot be used by his club during the same period that he would’ve played for his country, even if he recovers earlier.”
The lawyer was asked if there could potentially be a legal battle should Napoli ask for Osimhen to be examined by doctor Tartaro and Nigeria refuse to let him leave?
“It is a realistic scenario. Medicine is not an exact science, one doctor can say one thing and another medic give a different opinion.
“FIFA give the final word to the Nigerian Federation. We won’t rule out taking legal action against the Nigerian Federation, seeking compensation,” he affirmed.
Yet words were rife yesterday that Osimhen has hinted over the possibility of a possible withdrawal from the AFCON on account of the on-and-off relationship between the NFF and Napoli.
“ I’m aware that Osimhen spoke with coach Austine Eguavoen already but there is nothing official about whether Osimhen would be going or not going to the AFCON,” an official told NationSport.
“ So, we keep our fingers crossed and watch event unfolds but the truth is that nobody is happy with the current situation.”