Super Eagles hopeful David Okereke is expected to be sidelined after sustaining a muscle injury in Venezia’s 4-3 defeat to Hellas Verona on Sunday. Any outside hopes of joining the Afcon train is thrown out of the window for Okereke due to this unfortunate muscle injury that is projected to keep him out for 3 weeks. With 4 goals and 1 assist for Venezia across 14 league games this season in Serie A, Okereke was definitely set to improve on his tally of last term where he managed the same number of goals for the whole season across 25 games in Belgium. As a result, the then-23 year old was labelled “an expensive Club Brugge flop” due to his €8 million price tag. Hence he was was flogged off to Italy on loan.
Okereke’s meager returns last season also severely harmed his national team chances at a time compatriot Onuachu was walking on water in the same league with insane number of goals. Other Nigeria forwards were equally doing well which meant Okereke had to up his game to be counted among potential Super Eagles elites. His current record of 1 goal per 4 games this season in Italy doesn’t yet elevate his status to a position of Super Eagles reckoning but he was surely on the right path – if not for Afcon, at least potentially for the crucial 3rd round of the world cup qualifiers in March. This injury setback is therefore a short term hammer blow to Okereke’s national team ambitions at a time he was starting to stamp his authority in Venezia. The hope is that he will recover within the next 3 weeks and come back with a bang to continue rattling nets. Okereke, who is yet to be capped in the Super Eagles, once represented Nigeria at Under-23 level. As a versatile forward who can play at right or left wing or as a center forward, Okereke will be a worthy addition to the Super Eagles if his numbers in club football eventually elevates him to position of attracting national team invitation.
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