The hopes of Super Eagles midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo making it to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Cameroon is all but over.
This follows the confirmation on Thursday by Etebo’s club, Watford FC, that the energetic midfielder has suffered a muscle injury that would keep him out for between four to five months.
Etebo was forced off injured during Watford’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Newcastle United on Saturday evening at Vicarage Road.
His compatriot, Emmanuel Dennis, was called on as a replacement as the Hornets came from a goal down to earn a point against the Magpies.
While it was initially thought Etebo will only be out for a few weeks, the results of the checks on the former Getafe and Galatasaray player have confirmed he will spend a longer time on the sidelines.
“Midfielder Peter Etebo tore a quad muscle towards the end of the Newcastle United game last weekend and is expected to be out for between four to five months,” the club wrote.
With this, he will miss at least 17 English top-flight fixtures for Watford – starting with Saturday’s tricky away tie against Leeds United at Elan Road.
Except for an unlikely twist of events,, Etebo will not be ready as Gernot Rohr’s side bids to win the biennial African football showpiece for the fourth time in Cameroon after previous successes in 1980, 1994 and 2013 in South Africa.
Etebo was part of the Eagles side that finished third in the 2019 edition of Afcon staged in Egypt.
Already, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have been drawn to face Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea Bissau in the group stage of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Etebo, who played a cameo role in Nigeria’s opening game in the race to Qatar 2022 World Cup, was understandably omitted from the country’s 23-man squad for the October double-header against the Central African Republic.