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Taiwo Awoniyi out AFCON 2023 after undergoing groin surgery



Nottingham Forest s Taiwo Awoniyi celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Nottingham Forest at the London Stadium, London, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. AP

Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi will be sidelined for “months,” manager Steve Cooper said Thursday, because of a groin injury that caused him to withdraw from Nigeria’s squad during the international break.

Awoniyi, who has scored four goals in 11 appearances this season as Forest’s first-choice striker, has been managing the problem since October.

He played for Nigeria in its disappointing 1-1 draw with Lesotho in World Cup qualifying last week but then pulled out of the squad and has since had an operation, which is set to rule him out of the African Cup of Nations starting in mid-January.

“He is going to be out for months,” Cooper said of Awoniyi ahead of Forest’s Premier League match against Brighton on Saturday. “We’ll support him and try to get him back as quick and as fit as he can be, but it’s a really unfortunate situation and a blow for him. He’s become an important player for us with the goals he’s scored and the goals he will score for us.”

Nigeria drew its first two World Cup qualifiers. Its next isn’t until June.





Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.