Leading goal scorer at the ongoing African Cup of Nations, Odion Ighalo has called time on his international career with the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
He announced his retirement following Nigeria’s third-place victory over Tunisia on Wednesday. He reportedly informed coach Gernot Rohr of his decision before leaving to join his club in China immediately after the game.
Constant abuse and undue criticism of Odion Ighalo and his family members forced the Shanghai Shenhua forward to retire from international football,
Ighalo followed in the footsteps of John Mikel Obi by calling time on his Super Eagles commitment on Friday.
Ighalo first considered quitting the national team in the aftermath of the Super Eagles’ group stage exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but was prevailed on by head coach Gernot Rohr to have a change of mind.
The former Watford striker was hugely criticised by majority of the fans who were not happy he squandered two goal scoring chances in the Super Eagles 2-1 defeat to La Albiceleste of Argentina which cost the side a place in the Second Round.
However, the forward silenced his critics by emerging the top scorer in the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with seven goals ahead of Burundi’s Fiston Abdou-Razak.
His most memorable moment of the qualifier came on matchday-three against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya where he scored a hat-trick.
Things started well for the talented striker in Egypt when he scored the winning goal for Nigeria with a sublime finish after coming in as a substitute in the Group B opener against the Swallows of Burundi.
The critics found their voice again after two barren spells against Guinea and Madagascar but he answer them with two fine strikes in the second round win against defending champions Cameroon.
Ighalo scored two more goals in the competition against Algeria and Tunisia and is in now line to win the AFCON top scorer award as he currently sit at the top of the log with five goals.
After the Super Eagles Third-Place match against Tunisia on Wednesday, Ighalo told Rohr about his decision to quit the team and the German accepted his stance.
Ighalo promptly told the coach he could no longer cope with insults and abuse directed at him and his family.
He is now expected to now concentrate on his club career with Rohr having obliged to his request to retire from the team this time around.