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Odion Ighalo’s recall to the Super Eagles squad has seemingly overshadowed the build-up to the team’s World Cup qualifying match against Liberia but his former protege Victor Osimhen will prove he is now the King of Eagles as Nigeria seek victory over the Lone Star in Tangier, Morocco, today (Saturday).

It is unclear if Ighalo will play a part in the tie largely because he joined the side less than 48 hours before the tie because for somebody who has been out of the setup for two years it could be considered unwise to hand him a role in such a crucial tie. However, it is hard to know what goes on in the minds of coaches and Gernot Rohr may decide to hand the Al Shabab forward a role but that will come with extra motivation for Osimhen to prove that he is now the go-to guy for the national team and not his senior whose shoes he stepped into in 2019 after the senior striker announced his international retirement shortly after he emerged the highest scorer of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Osimhen practically and quickly consigned into thrash bin the fears many Nigerians nursed following Ighalo’s shock retirement with astounding performances now threatening to eclipse that of his predecessor but Ighalo recall has invariably thrown a big question on the confidence the Rohr has in his young striker.

“We need his experience and goals,” Rohr said. but that has not sat well with many pundits who believe the German casts aspersion on the contributions of the array of strikers that he has in his fold with the return of Ighalo. “Ighalo is my very good friend but there is no wisdom in the decision to have him back in the team,” ex-international Sodje told our correspondent. “Whoever advised the coach or Amaju Pinnick (President of the Nigeria Football Federation) has done a great disservice to this country because this singular move can set the national team back for several years.

“I don’t know what Ighalo is coming back to the national team to do with the quality of strikers that we have in the squad. I don’t know why we are desperate; to qualify for the World Cup or Nations Cup is really not the achievement we expect from the Super Eagles, they have done that over and over again. What we need from the coach is to go ahead and win the Nations Cup or go far at the World Cup but what Rohr has done shows that he doesn’t know his job.” Osimhen has said he is not angry about Ighalo’s recall but the former Golden Eaglet has to show he represents the future of Nigeria and the future is now with another impressive performance against Liberia.

The Napoli striker has been compared to legendary Rashidi Yekini not only because of his physical built but his knack for scoring goals and the 22-year-old is following in that trajectory that made the late striker the greatest forward in Nigeria’s history.

He has managed an impressive eight goals in just 17 matches, grossing around 0.5 ratio per match and comparing that to Ighalo who managed paltry four in his first 17 caps means the former Lille player is working to surpass his predecessor. The tie against Liberia provides another platform to show his worth and with Ighalo challenging for that number 9 role, the Napoli forward could be spurred into a different level of activities.




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