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The real reason why Nigeria star Victor Osimhen still wears a mask during matches

Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen wore a mask in the Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast – but why is the Napoli star wearing one?

Osimhen is lined up as the lead striker for the Super Eagles in the AFCON final, having scored one goal and provided one assist during the tournament so far.

His side took on an Ivory Coast team who, remarkably, has had two managers this tournament after the departure of Jean-Louis Gasset following a disappointing group stage.

Fans watching the clash will have noticed Osimhen wearing his mask, which has now become infamous after he suffered a facial injury.

The 25-year-old suffered a fractured eye socket injury in a Serie A match in November 2021, which took several months to fully heal. But two years on, Osimhen still wears the mask for matches – despite being fully recovered.

Napoli’s chief doctor, Roberto Ruggiero, has since revealed that the real reason behind the continuous wearing of the mask is down to personal preference, with Osimhen feeling a ‘sense of security when he has it on.

The doctor explained to Italian outlet Radio Marte (via Tutto Napoli) in 2022: “Osimhen is perfectly healed, he’s still wearing the protective mask because it gives him a sense of security, but he’s healed.

“He has his own balance, and wants to wear it. Hopefully this mask will be enough until he feels safe and takes it off.”

Credit: Getty
But the player himself admitted in an interview last month that he will have to wear the mask for the remainder of his career.

He told Nigerian outlet Brilla (quotes via Daily Post Nigeria): “I have to wear the mask for the rest of my career because I have screws that actually pass through my jaws and face.

“The last match I played against Cagliari, when I headed the ball, I had blood on my face, and the goalkeeper also hit my face. There was blood, that was even with the mask on.

“So it is really dangerous for me to play without using the mask.”

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