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Umar Sadiq Insists He Didn’t Abandon Super Eagles’ 2023 AFCON Team

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Super Eagles of Nigeria forward, Umar Sadiq has insisted that he didn’t abandon the team for his club, Real Sociedad, contrary to speculations.

Recall that Umar Sadiq was forced to withdraw from the Super Eagles 2023 AFCON squad after flying with the team to Ivory Coast, the hosts of the tournament.

The national team confirmed that the Real Sociedad striker had to be withdrawn from the team and replaced by Paul Onuachu because he suffered an injury during a pre-tournament friendly against Guinea in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates on January 9.

In the game which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Nigeria, Umar Sadiq suffered a knock by refusing to be substituted though he was advised to do so. Hence, the knock became worse than it should.

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However, this development became a controversy when Sadiq was spotted in training two days after leaving the Super Eagles camp and even played a competitive game for his Spanish club about five days later.

Hence, most football enthusiasts in Nigeria believe that Sadiq faked the injury to return to his club but the footballer has stressed via a statement on Friday, January 19, that it wasn’t his fault that he had to leave the Eagles’ camp days before the 2023 AFCON.

He also congratulated the Eagles for their unprecedented 1-0 win over the hosts of the tournament, Ivory Coast on January 18.

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“I must address the message I have received from fellow Nigerians, accusing me of pretending to be injured to leave the national team just before the start of the AFCON and return to my club”, Sadiq Umar said.

“Here is a comprehensive explanation of the situation during the friendly game 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 complete the game. The following day, my knee was swollen and the Eagles medical team conducted a thorough examination revealing a meniscus injury.

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“The manager decided to replace me based on the medical assessment, considering uncertainties about my fitness for the AFCON.”

Sadiq Umar continued: “Upon returning to my club, I underwent a thorough examination and 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 Allah and my club Real Sociedad for supporting my swift recovery and resuming 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’m not with the team but happy for the winning. I extend my best wishes to the Eagles in the ongoing AFCON.”