Victor Osimhen scored only one goal at the AFCON this year. (Image: AFP)
Despite recovering from an injury to his face, Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen continues to play with the protective mask on.
The real reason behind the Nigerian star, Victor Osimhen wearing a face mask at the Africa Cup of Nations has been revealed. Osimhen’s side reached the final of the continental tournament but failed to overcome Ivory Coast in an end-to-end clash. Nigeria scored an early goal in the summit clash but the hosts scripted a dramatic comeback later in the second half with consecutive strikes. Ivory Coast notched a 2-1 victory at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium to claim their third AFCON title.
Victor Osimhen, who looked quite pale in the match, was spotted playing with a black face mask throughout the campaign. The Napoli striker first opted for the protection after suffering a gruelling eye socket injury in a Serie A game back in November 2021. It was due to a clash of heads with Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar that occurred during a fixture at San Siro.
The wound led Victor Osimhen to go under the knife as six plaques and 18 screws had to be inserted into his face. Dr Gianpaolo Tartaro, a plastic surgeon who operated on his eye socket told Radio CRC, as per Goal, “Osimhen could even have lost his sight. That bone could indeed have caused other problems, but fortunately, some factors helped us and the eye was able to go back into its socket.”
After becoming fully fit, Victor Osihmen made a promising return for Napoli. He scored 26 goals during the 2022-23 season as his team claimed the Serie A title after a prolonged wait of 33 years. Though his recovery is completed, the 25-year-old Nigerian continues to wear the protective face mask in all matches.
According to Napoli’s chief doctor Roberto Ruggiero, Victor Osimhen feels secure when he has the mask on and it is the only reason for him to continue the practice. During an interaction with the Italian outlet Radio Marte last year, the physician told Tutto Napoli last year, as per Sportbible, “Osimhen is perfectly healed, he’s still wearing the protective mask because it gives him a sense of security, but he’s healed. He has his balance and wants to wear it. Hopefully, this mask will be enough until he feels safe and takes it off.”
Victor Osimhen also admitted the same while speaking about the topic to Nigerian outlet Brilla. He told the Daily Post Nigeria, as per Sportbible, “I have to wear the mask for the rest of my career because I have screws that pass through my jaws and face. In the last match against Cagliari when I headed the ball, I had blood on my face. There was blood, that was even with the mask on. So it is really dangerous for me to play without using the mask.”
As the AFCON is wrapped up, Victor Osimhen will now shift his focus to club assignments. He is expected to return to action when Napoli host Genoa in a Serie A fixture on February 17.
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