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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Boost for Nigeria as Awaziem resumes training

20:18 IST 17/01/2022
Chidozie Awaziem
The defender is closing in on a return to action after recovering from injury and could be involved in Wednesday’s clash with Guinea-Bissau

Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad received a massive boost as Chidozie Awaziem resumed training with the Super Eagles.

The Turkey-based defender has been out of action at the ongoing tournament in Cameroon because of an ankle injury.

He was not included in Augustine Eguavoen’s squad that silenced Egypt and Sudan at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.

More importantly, he has not trained with the team, leaving some to think the former FC Porto man had contracted Covid-19 before coach Eguavoen dispelled the rumour.

“Awazem is still down, he had an ankle injury as much as I know he will be back very soon,” the 56-year-old told GOAL.

“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.”

However, Awaziem joined the rest of the squad to train on Monday night as the three-time African kings stepped up preparations for Wednesday’s encounter against Guinea Bissau.

After jogging with the team, the 25-year-old was involved in ball work and he looks fit to play a role in the country’s quest to lift a fourth African title.

With this development, he could be available to feature for the West Africans when they square up against the Djurtus in their last Group D game billed for Garoua.

In his absence against the Pharaohs and the Falcons of Jediane, the quartet of Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Zaidu Sanusi held sway in the defence to provide cover for goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

Although Nigeria are through to the Round of 16, they would be hoping to make it three wins from three games.

Meanwhile, the Djurtus – who bowed 1-0 to the Pharaohs their last time out - need a convincing victory to stand a chance of making it to the next stage.

Aged 19, Awaziem was called up for Super Eagles international friendlies against Mali and Luxembourg in May 2016.

He made his bow on June 1 2017, getting a starter’s role in a 3–0 win over Togo in Paris in another exhibition game.

He was part of Gernot Rohr’s 23-man squad for the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia but was an unused player.