It started as a whisper and then morphed into a rumour, then Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick revealed it really could happen and happened it has after Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr revealed his squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Cape Verde and Liberia.
Odion Ighalo is back.
Two years after walking off into international retirement with the Golden Boot from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the 32-year-old who now plies his trade at Saudi side Al-Shabab Riyadh has been recalled by a desperate Rohr as he bids to clinch a spot at next year’s Qatar World Cup and win a fourth African title for Nigeria at next year’s AFCON in Cameroon.
While Ighalo’s record is nothing to be sniffed at – 16 goals in 35 caps and 9 goals in 10 appearances for his club -, the decision to recall him has left many Nigerians baffled seeing as centre-forward is the one area where the national team is spoilt for choice.
Victor Osimhen, Paul Onuachu, Terem Moffi, Taiwo Awoniyi, Emmanuel Dennis are just some of the names Rohr has at his disposal, all considerably younger, in-form for their clubs and playing at vastly higher levels than Ighalo.
Yet Rohr snubbed Moffi, Awoniyi and Dennis in his squad for the long-retired Ighalo.
The decision has left many fans and watchers scratching their heads in disbelief and exasperation and naturally, many took to social media to express their thoughts.
Here’s a sample of their opinions below: