Victor Osimhen says he is happy with the impending return of “big brother” Odion Ighalo and looks forward to welcoming the Al-Shabab striker back to the Super Eagles with “open hands”.
Ighalo retired from international football in 2019 following the Nations Cup in Egypt where he finished as top scorer with five goals.
In the intervening two years, Osimhen, previously Ighalo’s understudy, has blossomed as the main prong of the Super Eagles’ attack, scoring a staggering 10 goals in 13 caps in that period.
Despite Osimhen’s lethal form for the three-time African champions as the main striker, head coach Gernot Rohr has deemed it fit to persuade Ighalo to rescind his decision to retire and rejoin the team for their final 2022 World Cup group stage qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde
Many felt the decision amounted to a vote of no confidence on Osimhen, but the Napoli striker who revealed a deep and abiding love for Ighalo, says he is more than happy to see the former Manchester United striker don Nigeria’s green and white again.
Osimhen added that Ighalo’s return can only be a net positive for the Super Eagles as they look to seal a place in Qatar and win a fourth African title at the 2022 Nations Cup in Cameroon.
“It’s good for the team and of course, the coaches and the federation know what is best for the team and so we welcome him with open hands,” Osimhen told NFF media after the team’s training session on Wednesday in Tangier.
“We’re really looking forward to receiving him in camp and like, I said before, he’s like a big brother to me and I really love him a lot and I will learn a lot from him.
“I admire him so much so, for me, it’s one of the most important things to have him in the squad.
“And like, I said before, we all have a common goal to qualify the nation for the World Cup and to do well for the AFCON and so whatsoever is good for the team, I think the coach and the federation will bring into play.”
Ighalo is yet to report to camp and is being expected alongside Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble ahead of Saturday’s game against Liberia.
Nigeria require four points from their final two games against Liberia and Cape Verde to progress to the final two-legged qualifying round.