Since making his debut for the Super Eagles in 2015, Odion Ighalo has scored sixteen goals in thirty-seven appearances for Nigeria.
Al-Wehda and Super Eagles striker, Odion Jude Ighalo, has blasted the management of the Nigerian Football team after they excluded outfield NPFL players from the provisional AFCON squad, Soccernet.ng reports.
Ighalo, 34, was the top scorer at the 2019 AFCON tournament, as the Super Eagles secured the bronze medal, after falling to a late defeat against Algeria in the semi-final, thanks to a Riyad Mahrez free-kick.
Speaking with OmaSports TV, the former Manchester United striker mentioned that the omission of home-based players in the provisional cited a lack of trust in the players and the quality of the league as a whole.
“I don’t think it’s right not to invite home-based players because it is a provisional, 40-man list. We should have five to seven home-based players to encourage them. We know they might not make the final list for the tournament, but at least five or seven should be on the list to encourage the players and the league so they can work harder and believe they can make the team in the future,” the former Watford striker mentioned.
I sent my crew to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to get the thoughts of Ex @NGSuperEagles striker, @ighalojude on the heated debate on twitter over the exclusion of outfield home based players from the super eagles provisional list for the AFCON. pic.twitter.com/8A6LvamuVs
— Oma Akatugba (@omaakatugba) December 20, 2023
He, however, hopes changes will be made moving forward, as the team included just three home-based players, all of whom are goalkeepers.
“Not inviting anyone means you don’t trust them, you don’t focus on the league, you don’t encourage them. It’s just my opinion anyway. I hope next time they’re called up to train with the first team for tournaments like this,” He added.
Fans over social media are fuming especially over the exclusion of Remo-Stars right wing-back, Sadiq Ismail, who has notched up nine assists in fourteen NPFL games this season.