Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen fractured his cheekbone and eye socket in the 3-2 loss to Inter Milan on Sunday.
The Nigerian striker awaits surgery but he’s estimated to be out for at least the next six months which could potentially rule him out of the African Cup of Nations in January 2022.
The injury is such a shame for Osimhen and Napoli too because the striker had just started finding form with nine goals in 14 appearances.
So what does that mean for Nigeria, just seven weeks away from the AFCON in January, the Super Eagles will be without its star striker.
That would mean a change in personnel and probably even a switch in formation to make up for Osimhen’s potential absence.
And although it’s not ideal to lose Osimhen right before the AFCON, it’s also not the end of the world for Nigeria.
The Super Eagles are spoilt for choice in the centre forward position, it’s just a matter of who replaces Osimhen and how they will fit in the squad.
Paul Onuachu scored 33 league goals in 38 games for Genk last season and has followed it with 10 goals in 14 this season. He’s been the Super Eagles backup for Osimhen for the last two years so you’d expect him to naturally fill in the spot.
But it’s not so straightforward as Onuachu is very different to Osimhen in playing style. Onuachu is a target man which means Nigeria would need to switch formation to a 4-4-2 to get the best out of him.
The possibility of that happening remains unclear, especially since coach Gernot Rohr’s future is still uncertain.
Taiwo Awoniyi is also in contention having scored 13 goals in 20 appearances for Union Berlin so far this season. Awoniyi is best described as a blend of Osimhen and Onuachu.
He possesses the physique to be a target man but also the mobility and speed to mirror Osimhen’s contribution.
Other options include Emmanuel Dennis who has lit up the Premier League with Watford so far this season and Terem Moffi who has been making waves in France with Lorient.