Super Eagles striker, who also plays same role at Real Sociedad, Umar Sadiq, has opened up on his exclusion from the Super Eagles days before the start of the African Cup of Nations, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Sadiq was replaced by Paul Onuachu after the Eagles team doctor claimed he suffered a meniscus injury in the team’s 2-0 loss to Guinea in a pre-tournament friendly in Abu Dhabi.
The 28-year-old left the Eagles camp for Sociedad last Saturday and on Monday the Spanish club posted a video of the Nigerian striker undergoing recovery training.
He afterwards featured for the side in a Cup game in Spain, which drew the ire of fans on social media and beyond.
In a statement sighted by Punch on Friday, the striker, who congratulated the Eagles over their 1-0 win over Ivory Coast on Thursday, said, “It’s imperative for me to 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.
“Here is a comprehensive explanation on the situation during the friendly game against Guinea. I experienced a significant impact from two Guinean defenders leading to a penalty is a favour for 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.
“The manager decided to replace me based on the medical assessment, considering uncertainties about my fitness for the AFCON.”
According to Sadiq, his club discovered that he only suffered a bruise and could thus resume training.
“Upon returning to my club, I underwent 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.”