Nigeria interim boss, Augustine Eguavoen, has confirmed that Chidozie Awaziem has been out of action at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, because of an ankle injury and not Covid-19.
The Alanyaspor defender was left out of the Super Eagles’ squad that beat Egypt in the opening game at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
Awaziem was also not present at the team’s training on Wednesday and Thursday as they prepare for Saturday’s fixture against Sudan.
That sparked insinuations that the former FC Porto man may have contracted Covid-19 – a rumour that was not confirmed, nor denied, the Super Eagles’ technical crew.
However, Eguavoen cleared the air on the player’s absence during Friday’s pre-match conference ahead of their showdown with Sudan.
“Awazem is still down, he had an ankle injury as much as I know he will be back very soon,” said Eguavoen while replying to a question from GOAL.
The 56-year-old is not sure of Awaziem’s likely return date claiming that only the Super Eagles medics can determine that.
“Hopefully [he will be back] very soon, that’s beyond my control. I think the medical staff are here to certify him fit to get back on the pitch. That’s the much I can say about Awaziem.”
In his absence against the Pharaohs, the quartet of Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Zaidu Sanusi held sway in the defence to shut out Mohamed Salah and his teammates.