I did not bribe my way back to Super Eagles – Odion Ighalo says as he reveals role his pastor played in his return

Odion Ighalo has revealed how his mum, pastor and Gernot Rohr influenced his return to the Super Eagles, denying claims he bribed his way back into the team. Ighalo made his return to the Eagles in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in the 2022 World Cup qualifier.

His last appearance was at the 2019 AFCON where he emerged top scorer as the Super Eagles finish third.

Read his comments below…

“Since 2019 when I retire, the coach had been in communication with me to come back. I told him I don’t think I want to come back but the pressure was too much. Even before I came now the pressure was too much that I had to tell my agent to speak to the NFF president and the coach because when I signed for my club in Saudi Arabia I told them I’m not playing for the national team anymore and to get me released for this match was difficult.

“So, most importantly I’m happy to be back to give my support, the coach spoke to me at length. I heard so many people like a guy in the UK who said I paid my way to the national team, I was just laughing. I have never, even when I was not in this position that I am, in my life and in my career I’ve never paid my way into the national team.
“The guy tried to defame my character but I’m not the kind of guy that makes problem if not he would have heard fromnmy lawyer. Everybody have their opinion about me I don’t care but not to the extent about bribing which is very bad. I’m not going to go into that, the most important thing is that I’m here to support and I’m really happy to be back.

“I spoke to the coach that I’m coming back here to support the team, not to destabilise the team. They have a young squad that is doing well. There were talks that I’m back to take position I’m not going to drag position with nobody not Osimhen.
“Before I left the national team I personally called Osimhen and told him ‘this number nine position is for you, if you work hard you will rule Nigeria for long’, and I’m happy seeing him doing well. I’m here to support him, before I came I told the coach Osimhen is the number one striker, I just want to come and support and I try to do that. It was even said that I tried to fight for the number nine jersey, I was just laughing. So many things have been said.

“Before I came, I don’t want to mention the person’s name, top NFF official said something jersey and all that and I said no the number nine jersey Osimhen is the one that is using it and that I’m going to play with any jersey. But the official said Osimhen is a young player he will understand, I said no, this is the part of my condition to come back, I’m wouldn’t return if you don’t agree with this. “We are from the same Edo state and he is doing well and I’m really happy for him we do communicate, anytime he scores I wish him well and pray and hope he continues to do well both in club and country. It is his time to shine and I pray nobody will take it from him.”

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