PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Odion Ighalo – Nigeria missed him against Algeria

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Odion Ighalo – Nigeria missed him against Algeria
Odion Ighalo of Nigeria celebrate his goal with Victor Moses

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 14, 2017. 10:00

Despite having already qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia next year, the Super Eagles are fresh from a 1-1 draw against Algeria in their final qualifier last Friday.

While coach Gernot Rohr was happy to finish the campaign with a draw and seemingly impressed with his experiments ahead of the global showpiece, there is one man they missed in the match.

The former Watford striker in the English Premier League who is now on the books of Chinese giants, Changchun Yatai, Odion Ighalo.


Nigeria initially invited the player to camp ahead of the two encounters against the Desert Foxes and the friendly international against Argentina on Tuesday.

However, he had to pull out of the clashes through an injury, but will hope to be available for selection when Rohr selects his final squad for the World Cup.

Coming to the encounter in Constantine, the 2013 African champions bagged a draw through a fine strike from John Ogu's left foot, but they missed an outright striker upfront.

The West Africans were favourites to claim the full three points in Constantine, but the squad faced challenges, with a number of players pulling out due to injuries.

Apart from Ighalo, another casualty who was ruled out of the encounter was skipper John Obi Mikel, who is also a key member of the Eagles side.

With due respect to the Fennecs, the team is no longer competitive as there have been a number of coaching changes in recent times – their World Cup qualification campaign bears testament.

Injuries are part of football, but Ighalo would have added more woes to the Algerian defence and possibly come back with a goal or two for the Super Eagles.

For now, he is enjoying his holiday in the United States and will also hope to heal as soon as possible to be in contention for the final squad en route to Russia.

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