2026 WC Qualifiers:Concerns over Osimhen, Chukwueze’s fitness for Bafana Bafana clash

.Napoli striker closer to Chelsea deal

This is not the way Coach Finidi George wants to start his Super Eagles’ reign. With less than three weeks to a crucial 2026 World Cup qualifier against South Africa, George has been given reports that his number one striker, Victor Osimhen, may not be fit enough to face the Bafana Bafana on June 7.

Placed third in Group C of the 2026 World Cup African qualifying series, Nigeria will meet second-placed South Africa in Uyo on June 7 and travel to Cote d’Ivoire to face Benin Republic three days later.

George has compiled the list of players he wants to use for the games with Osimhen top of the list. But news from Italy says that the Napoli striker is nursing an injury and did not join his mates in training on Monday ahead of the club’s game against Fiorentina on Friday.

According to, another Super Eagles’ Italy-based star, Samuel Chukwueze has been rated as doubtful for the double-header due to an injury to the hamstring of the left thigh he suffered during the first half of AC Milan’s 5-1 win against Cagliari on Saturday.

Already, Empoli right-back, Tyronne Ebuehi, has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee back in March.

But the good news for the new coach is that Bayer Leverkusen star, Victor Boniface, and Nottingham Forest striker, Taiwo Awoniyi, are getting back to their best forms after sitting out their clubs’ games for almost two months due to injury.

Both, who missed the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, have started playing for their clubs, with Boniface already back to scoring goals for the new Bundesliga champions.
Finidi has some big calls to make ahead of his squad announcement, with some players either injured or lacking match fitness.

Also back to action are team captain, William Troost-Ekong, Jamilu Collins, and Semi Ajayi, and the coaches are expected to monitor their fitness levels before the World Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are reportedly close to reaching an agreement with Osimhen ahead of a potential summer move.

According to Italian football expert, Fabrizio Romano, the Blues had contacted the agent of the star striker on the possibility of joining the club.
Besides agreeing on personal terms with the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup Golden Boot winner, Chelsea will still have to find a way of meeting his valuation, which is said to be in the region of €130million (about N211.3 billion).

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