Nigeria's Henry Onyekuru is in danger of missing out on next year's World Cup after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
The striker, who is on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht from English club Everton, suffered the injury against former club Eupen on December 22.
Recent scans show the injury to be more serious than initially suspected.
"He could be out for as long as six months," Anderlecht coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck told reporters wednesday.
It is a cruel blow for the 20-year-old, who had played in 19 league games and appeared in four Champions League matches for the Brussels outfit.
He was given a run out in Nigeria's last World Cup qualifier in Algeria in November when he came on in the second half of the 1-1 draw and was hoping to make Gernot Rohr's final 23-man squad for Russia in June.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, has confirmed that Rohr, is gutted by the news of Onyekuru's injury.
"Rohr was not happy, but we are hoping that he returns before the World Cup. He is a young player and the tendency for him to recover quick is there, so we are praying and hoping he returns in time," Ibitoye told reporters yesterday on telephone.
According to Ibitoye, both the coach and some top NFF officials have contacted Onyekuru to wish him well.
"Already, we have called to wish him well," concludes the team's spokesman.