Taiwo Awoniyi‘s hope to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) has been dashed after confirmation that the forward will miss the tournament.
Infoexpert24 reports that the confirmation was made by Nottingham Forest coach Steve Cooper, who revealed that the Nigerian forward will require surgery and will be out of action for “months’ due to groin injury.
Awoniyi, who has scored four goals in 11 appearances this season as Forest’s first-choice striker, has been managing the problem since October.
He played for Nigeria in its disappointing 1-1 draw with Lesotho in World Cup qualifying last week but then pulled out of the squad and has since had an operation, which is set to rule him out of the African Cup of Nations starting in mid-January.
Awoniyi set to miss AFCON 2023
Speaking ahead of Nottingham Forest’s Premier League encounter against Brighton, Cooper revealed the extent of Awoniyi’s injury, saying, “It’s bad news on Taiwo, he’s had to have surgery, and he is going to be out for months.”
Awoniyi ‘out for months’
It is unknown exactly when Awoniyi will return, but with the AFCON tournament kicking off in just over a month, the former Liverpool and Uniion Berlin man is unlikely to make a recovery in time.
Awoniyi was Nigeria’s leading man at the 2021 AFCON in the absence of Victor Osimhen, scoring one goal during the group stage.
The Super Eagles forward has been in fine form for Nottingham Forest this season in the Premier League, scoring four goals and assisting two more in eight starts for the Tricky Trees.
In one of the groups, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau will be playing against each other. Senegal, the champions, will be in a group with Cameroon, Guinea, and Gambia, which looks like a tough group.
Host Cote d’Ivoire will play against Nigeria in the first stage of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023.
The group stage was decided in Abidjan, with Cote d’Ivoire hosting the event from January 13 to February 11, 2023.
Awoniyi’s injury will be a big concern to the Super Eagles who are set to battle for the top honour at the 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire next year.