Odion Ighalo’s performance for the super Eagles in the last 14 months has been superb and him and his last national team coach Gernot Rohr must be credited for that.
The striker endured series of criticisms and insults from Nigerian football faithfuls following his uninspired performance at the Russia 2018 World Cup, after his misses against Argentina went on to cost Nigeria a place in the round of 16.
However, he bounced back to help Nigeria return to the AFCON in 2019 after missing the last two editions, by scoring seven goals during the qualifiers to finish as top scoere .
At the tournament proper, the Chinese based attacker equalled Rashidi Yekini’s five goals record in a single tournament and walked away with the tournament‘s golden boot to join Rashidi Yekini, Segun Odegbami, Julius Aghahowa, Emmanuel Emenike as the only Nigerians who has won the prestigious award.
However, one man must be credited for this and it’s Gernot Rohr, the Franco-German tactician refused to be bullied by some section of media who asked for the striker to be dropped from the team , after his disgraceful outing in Russia.
Rohr took the 30-yearold attacker under his wings and shielded him after he was made the scapegoat for the team’s exit from the World Cup and rejected his pleads to quit the national team untimely.
Rohr helped Ighalo not to suffer like Sani Kaita and Yakubu Aiyegbeni who were made scapegoat for Nigeria’s ouster from 2010 world cup in South Africa.
Kaita was sent off in Nigeria‘s 2-1 loss to Greece, after kicking out on a Greek player , while Aiyegbeni missed from six yards with empty net at his mercy in Nigeria‘s last game against South Korea.
The two players went on to suffer humilations alongside with families, with Sanni Keita confirming a death threat messages from unidentified people.
Aiyegbeni and Kaita later left the national team unceremoniously, but Ighalo had a second chance to redeemed himself from mortal villain to an unforgettable hero, thanks to Gernot Rohr.
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