AFCON 2023: NFF denies having an incompetent medical team after ‘injured’ Umar Sadiq is seen training with his Spanish club 24 hours after leaving Super Eagles camp

AFCON 2023: NFF denies having an incompetent medical team after
AFCON 2023: NFF denies having an incompetent medical team after

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Nigeria’s soccer ruling body, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has denied reports circulating around on the incompetence of the Super Eagles medical team.

The medical team has come under intense criticism after Umar Sadiq was seen in a video training with his Spanish club, Real Sociedad despite the AFCON tournament already taking place.

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Sadiq was replaced by Paul Onuachu in Nigeria’s squad for the 2023 Africa Cup after reportedly sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Guinea.


The 26-year-old, who returned to Spain last weekend was expected to be sidelined for three weeks.


According to reports, Sadiq trained with his club just 24 hours after leaving the Super Eagles camp, leading Nigerian football lovers to question the NFF medical team’s assessment of a ‘’serious injury.”


While the NFF did not deny or confine the reports or the new video, they defended the professionalism of their medical team.

“The camp of Nigeria’s senior men football team, Super Eagles has decried reports in sections of the media that have continued to garnish the medical case of Spain-based forward Sadiq Umar with conspiracy theories, incorrect assumptions and unbecoming insinuations. The camp has released a statement with regards to how the player was withdrawn from Nigeria’s squad for the 34th Africa Cup of Nations finals ongoing in Cote d’Ivoire,” the NFF said in a statement.

“We are surprised at the news trending on social media concerning Sadiq Umar and how he was withdrawn from the team camp. The fact is that our medical team meticulously abided by the best medical procedures and were diligent in their processes and conclusions before advising Head Coach José Peseiro that the player be withdrawn from the squad.


“The player, Sadiq Umar, was okay when he arrived at camp; he had to undergo the standard pre-competition medical assessment and he was good. He started to train with the team. Unfortunately, he copped an injury on the back of his left knee during our friendly match against Guinea in Abu Dhabi on 8th January, that led to a penalty against our opponents. The medical team advised that he substituted, as a cautionary measure, but he said he was fine and could continue the game. At half-time, he said he reiterated that he was good to continue playing, and he played the entire 90 minutes.


“However, the following day, he woke up to see the knee swelling, and the medical team had to apply ice which is the normal thing. The same day, we had to travel to Lagos and on the 10th January, flew to Abidjan. Then, the swelling became worse.


“Most of the reports we have seen are not a true representation of what actually happened. We have a very competent medical team who are well-trained in sport and exercise medicine and highly experienced and exposed to the most modern techniques and practices. They followed all due processes and protocol in tandem with the consultant knee surgeon that the player himself contacted in Spain, before the decision was made in the interest of the nation and the career of the player.


“As much as the medical team has refused to join issues with anyone due to their professional patience and privacy policy, we will not allow anyone to rubbish our collective responsibility as Team Nigeria to this Africa Cup of Nations championship. We reiterate that the player was carried along throughout the process, and he started his rehabilitation with the team physiotherapist before he returned to his club in Spain.”

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