Soccer-Nigeria's Sanusi a doubt for Cup of Nations final

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group H - FC Porto v Royal Antwerp - Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal - November 7, 2023 FC Porto's Zaidu Sanusi in action REUTERS/Pedro Nunes/File Photo

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Nigeria left back Zaidu Sanusi will undergo a fitness test later on Saturday to decide whether he can return to the team for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against hosts Ivory Coast, coach Jose Peseiro said.

Sanusi, 26, missed the semi-final win over South Africa with a hamstring injury, forcing a change in the well-drilled Nigerian defence which has conceded two goals in six games at the tournament in the Ivory Coast.

"He was partially involved in Friday training and we will check his condition again tonight before we make a decision," said Peseiro.

He is the only concern for the Nigerians, who have had a consistent team selection throughout the tournament and beat the Ivorians in the group phase.

"There is no favourite for the final," insisted Peseiro. "I think each side has a 50 percent chance but we are determined to win this final."

There will be a special focus on African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen, who has been an outstanding performer at the tournament but scored a single goal in Nigeria’s opening game a month ago.

"He doesn’t play like he is the star. He fights for the team and is completely unselfish," said Peseiro.

"He knows he is an important player and he gives us the best energy. He has suffered a lot in this tournament with all the attention he receives from the opposing defenders because he knows it is a team game."

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)

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