Ighalo slams critics over Eagles return

AL HILAL striker Odion Ighalo has slammed critics who have questioned his inclusion in the Super Eagles squad for this month’s Qatar 2022 World Cup playoffs against Ghana, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Ighalo makes a return to the squad for the game against the Black Stars after his former club Al Shabab refused to release him for the recent Africa Cup of Nations Cup in Cameroon.

Ighalo who took his tally to five in six appearances for the club since he joined from Al Shabab in January – 18 goals in 25 appearances for both Al Shabab and his current club (Al Hilal) told ESPN that he remains unperturbed by the rants of the Eagles fans.

“I don’t pay attention to that. Everything they’re saying is their own cup of tea. At my age, I just signed for a new team. This is my 11th team in my professional career.

“I have been called up, I will take my bag and I will go to represent my country and give my best on 100 pere cent.

“As long as I come out from every game and I’m satisfied with my performance — whether it is a win, loss, or draw — then that’s it. I’m a professional footballer.

“This is what I’ve been doing for 17-18 years so why would I be worried about what people say?”

He also remains optimistic the Eagles will qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup though he was quick to admit that with won’t be easy.

“You know the rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana,” Ighalo told ESPN.

“Because Ghana did not do well at the AFCON, they will want to bounce back so it is going to be a tough game; but Nigeria has what it takes to go through. We just need to focus and work harder and let the game against Tunisia go. We have to play with confidence, we have to express ourselves and we have to give our best.”

Ighalo said his confidence stemmed from the way the team played their AFCON group games in Cameroon.

“I was really surprised with the way they played,” he said.

“I saw a different spirit, I saw a different fight, I saw boys running around chasing after every ball. I saw players expressing themselves.

“What we need is to build from that; this hunger, this chasing of ball, these players expressing themselves. This team has potential. It’s just for us to build from where we stopped because we know Nigerians will want to win all the time.”