Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly displeased that Odion Ighalo got injured on national assignment but have maintained that the big striker will not be sanctioned.
The former youth international only recently helped Nigeria to a third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations, where his five goals earned him the tournament’s top goal scorer award.
The one-time Watford striker then shocked the nation by announcing his retirement from the Super Eagles after only spending four years with the team.
Hours after his decision was made public, a fresh report emerged that the former Granada forward had reconsidered his earlier decision and was back in the team. Ighalo insists there’s no truth in such reports.
“It is not true that I have reversed my decision,” Ighalo was quoted by ColinUdoh.com
“The (NFF) president spoke to me and asked me to reconsider. Out of respect for him, I said I would think about it. I consulted with my family and we decided that the best thing for me now is to stand by the decision.”
The 30-year-old scored Nigeria’s winning goal in the bronze medal match at the AFCON only to suffer an injury just before half time. He revealed that the injury -which could keep him out of action for at least 8 weeks – had gotten officials of Shanghai Shenhua, where he plays club football, angry but that all issues have been ironed out
“I love my country and it (retiring from the Super Eagles) was not an easy decision to make. But I believe the time is right. I am now out for eight weeks and my club are not happy about it, but I thank God for everything.”
“You always dream of playing for Nigeria as a boy and luckily I managed to do it from the under 20s to to the senior side.
“But you only need to take the time to reflect and tell yourself the truth, even though it was the hardest decision to make in my life as a footballer, I think it is the right one.”
Ighalo scored 16 goals in 35 appearances for the Super Eagles.