WCQ: Italian media knocks Gernot Rohr over injured Victor Osimhen

The Napoli striker is Nigeria’s leading goal scorer during the qualifying campaign, and his contribution could be crucial in the last two matches

A section of the Italian media has expressed its displeasure at Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr for inviting injured Napoli forward Victor Osimhen for Nigeria’s final World Cup qualifying matches in November.

The Super Eagles top their qualifying group after four games and need to win at least one of the remaining two matches to secure a spot in the final round of the series.

It was, therefore, not surprising when coach Rohr named leading goalscorer Osimhen in a 22-man list to prosecute the games against Liberia and Cape Verde.

Osimhen scored a joint-best (with Leicester City’s Patson Daka) five goals during the Afcon qualifiers to smoother Nigeria’s road to Cameroon 2022. And the former Lille lad has two goals in four Qatar qualifying games to show his importance to the national team.

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The 22-year-old, however, suffered a gastrocnemius contracture in his right calf in training ahead of Napoli’s Serie A clash at Salernitana at the weekend.

The calf injury is expected to keep him out of Il Partenopei’s Europa League meeting with Legia Warsaw on Thursday. His involvement in this weekend’s face-off against Verona is also in doubt.

Rohr is aware that Osimhen may not be fully fit for November’s international games and has recalled retired frontman Odion Ighalo while also extending invites to Genk’s Paul Onuachu and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho.

Still, Italian publications Corriere Dello Sport as per Tutto Napoli, is unhappy with the German tactician and his staff for refusing to “understand the current physical conditions of the Napoli centre forward.

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But they want him in Lagos and plan to use him in the two matches scheduled with Liberia, on November 13 and against Cape Verde on 16.”

Osimhen has been arguably Napoli’s best player in all competitions this season, netting nine goals in 12 matches for the Neapolitans.