Zaidu Sanusi’s availability for Nigeria’s crucial Africa Cup of Nations final against Cote d’Ivoire hangs in the balance as the defender continues to battle a fitness concern.
When fit, the FC Porto left-back, has been a mainstay in the Super Eagles’ lineup at the tournament and now faces a race against time to recover from injury ahead of the highly anticipated final showdown on Sunday.
Sanusi has featured prominently for Nigeria at the AFCON, making five appearances and playing a key role in the team’s defensive solidity, contributing to four clean sheets so far.
However, the defender was notably absent in Nigeria’s semifinal clash against South Africa.
In his absence, Bright Osayi-Samuel deputized admirably, stepping up to fulfill defensive duties effectively at right-back while Ola Aina played at left-back.
Coach Jose Peseiro clarified that Sanusi was nursing a knock sustained in the previous game against Angola, casting doubt over his availability for the upcoming final.
Providing an update on Sanusi’s condition ahead of the title decider, Peseiro revealed that the 26-year-old is yet to regain full fitness. The Super Eagles’ boss stated that Sanusi would undergo a late fitness assessment to determine his availability for the final.
“Sanusi Zaidu had a conditioning training session yesterday. We will conduct the final training session today, and we will assess him to see if he will be available,” Peseiro stated, as reported by Soccernet.ng.
Should Sanusi fail to recover in time, Peseiro can rely on Osayi-Samuel to step up once again and contribute to Nigeria’s quest for glory in the AFCON final against Cote d’Ivoire.