Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali may still be available for selection for the quarter-final match against Angola on Friday if he passes a late fitness test set for Wednesday (today), the Nigeria Football Federation has said.
After being excluded from the group’s training session on Monday, Nwabali returned to full training on Tuesday, boosting his chances of an early return ahead of the test.
Nwabali was injured in Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Cameroon on Saturday, making him doubtful for the next game on Friday.
The Chippa United goalkeeper was fouled by Georges-Kevin N’Koudou while saving a cross in his box.
He then requested to be substituted in the 80th minute after receiving an initial treatment on the pitch.
At the team’s training ground in Abidjan on Monday, Nwabali was excused from the group training as he walked around the pitch just to stretch his knee.
According to team medics, the 27-year-old copped a mild ligament injury during the round of 16 battle with the Indomitable Lions on Saturday, and the doctors have been working on him to see if he will come good in a late fitness test 48 hours before the cracker with the southern Africans.
“Fingers crossed. If all goes well, he might be available for selection,” the NFF said in a statement.
The 27-year-old has been Nigeria’s first choice at the AFCON, displacing Francis Uzoho.
“I’ll be fine but I’m still feeling pain. For the next game, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wait for the doctors but I wish to come back,” Nwabali told journalists at the mixed zone on Saturday.
Nwabali has been in goal for all of Nigeria’s four games at the 2023 AFCON, including the pre-tournament friendly against Guinea in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
He also expressed optimism about returning to action soon.
He has conceded just once in four appearances at the AFCON and three times in all his five games for the country, keeping three clean sheets in the process.