- Taiwo Awoniyi's hopes of going to his second Africa Cup of Nations have taken a major hit after it was confirmed that his injury will keep him out of action for a few months.
- Nottingham Forest manager, Steve Cooper disclosed during a press conference held on Thursday that Awoniyi had undergone surgery that will rule him out for an estimated two months.
The injury snag occurred during Nigeria's recent clash with Lesotho, prompting Awoniyi's substitution around the 60-minute mark.
After picking up the injury, Awoniyi missed Nigeria's game against Zimbabwe as he swiftly returned to England for a thorough medical evaluation.
Following extensive tests, it was established that Awoniyi's condition is more severe than initially feared, necessitating an extended recovery period.
With the Africa Cup of Nations set to commence on January 13 in Ivory Coast, Awoniyi's recovery timeline indicates he will not be available for selection in the Nigerian squad.
Speaking on the unfortunate turn of events, Cooper expressed the gravity of the situation. He conveyed, "It's bad news on Taiwo; he's had to have surgery, and he is going to be out for months. We'll support him and try to get him back as quick and as fit as he can be, but it's a really unfortunate situation and a blow for him."
Acknowledging Awoniyi's significant contribution to Nottingham Forest, Cooper noted the striker's prowess on the field.
He stated, "He's become an important player for us with the goals he's scored and the goals he will score for us, but he's such a good guy, and a good professional who is desperate to do well, so to get an injury like this is harsh on him."
Cooper emphasized the club's commitment to supporting Awoniyi's recovery, drawing parallels with the player's past resilience.
"We've got to support him through the process of coming back stronger. He's done that once before here, and I'm sure he will give everything again like he did last time. We'll definitely see him again this season, but it's groin surgery, so it will take a little while."
Awoniyi was a key member of the Super Eagles squad for the 2021 AFCON.