RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Nigeria midfielder Michael Babatunde was ruled out of the World Cup on Thursday with a broken arm after being hit by a teammate’s shot in the group game against Argentina.
The Nigeria Football Federation and coach Stephen Keshi said that Babatunde had successful surgery on his fractured right wrist but will need at least three weeks to recover.
The teammate whose shot struck Babatunde, fellow midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, joked about the incident in a statement from the NFF.
“I swear that was a sure goal if not for (his) hand.” Onazi said. He added that he wished Babatunde a “quick recovery.”
Babatunde started Nigeria’s last two group games, a 1-0 win over Bosnia and Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Argentina in Group F. He got hurt in that game when Onazi’s powerful second-half shot hit him on the right hand at an awkward angle, breaking his wrist.
“We are sad about that but we have people who can fill in for him very well,” Keshi said.
Keshi also said that forward Victor Moses had been struggling with a muscle strain, which was the reason he had not played a major role in Nigeria’s World Cup campaign so far.
Nigeria plays France in the last 16 on Monday in Brasilia.
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