After taking more than a two-year break from international football, the former Manchester United loanee has made a sensational return ahead of the last round of Qatar 2022 qualifying rounds
Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho has applauded Odion Ighalo’s decision to come out of international retirement and add his quality and experience to help the Super Eagles succeed.
After scoring 16 goals in 35 games in the colours of the Super Eagles, Ighalo decided to call time on international football and focus on his club career.
The former Watford man scored the last of those goals in the 1-0 defeat of Tunisia in the third-place match of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament on July 17, 2019. Ighalo finished that tournament as the top scorer with five goals.
But with Nigeria set to participate in another Afcon in January and qualification for the 2022 World Cup looking positive, Ighalo has reversed his decision to call it quits and has joined the Super Eagles camp in Tangier, Morocco.
Iheanacho, who was not at Egypt 2019, has been one of those bearing the national team’s goalscoring burden since Ighalo left.
The former Manchester City prodigy netted both goals as Nigeria triumphed over Liberia in Lagos on matchday one and has become a guaranteed starter when fit in recent times under Gernot Rohr.
And he could be one of those to make way for Ighalo to get some playing time against Liberia on Saturday and three days later versus Cape Verde on matchday six.
But Iheanacho is not threatened by Ighalo’s presence, with the Leicester attacker delighted to welcome his older compatriot back to the Super Eagles.
“He’s a top man, he is a legend, he’s done very well for the national team, and we are happy to have him back,” Iheanacho told the Super Eagles media team.
“He is like a big brother to all of us. Hopefully, he’ll be a part of this squad, and he will help us achieve our goals.”
Nigeria take on Liberia in Morocco today, November 13, with a win guaranteed to keep the Super Eagles top of their qualifying group ahead of the clash against Cape Verde on November 16.