The Week In Photos: Metuh’s Cross, COVID-19 In Lagos And Ighalo’s Moment

A combination of the best photos of the week ending February 28, 2020.
A combination of the best photos of the week ending February 28, 2020.

 

What were the best news photos you came across this week? Here are our picks, ranging from the trial of former People’s Democratic Party spokesman, Olisa Metuh, the announcement of the first COVID-19 patient in Nigeria and the very rare moment Odion Ighalo scored a goal for Manchester United.

 

 

A fire fighter cool off his head after battling fire that gutted a petrol station along Kubwa Expressway in Abuja on Wednesday 26th February, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
A firefighter cools off his head after battling an inferno that gutted a petrol station along Kubwa Expressway in Abuja on Wednesday 26th February 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Fire fighters battling fire that gutted a petrol station along Kubwa Expressway in Abuja on Wednesday 26th February, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
Firefighters battling the inferno that gutted a petrol station along Kubwa Expressway in Abuja on Wednesday 26th February, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Former PDP spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh stand inside a dock at the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 25, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
Former PDP spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh stands inside a dock at the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 25, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Metuh being taken to the Nigeria Correction Service after a judgement was passed on his case on February the 25th, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV
Metuh being taken to the Nigeria Correction Service after a judgement was passed on his case on February the 25th, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV

 

 

A police truck is stationed at the entrance of Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abuja during the review of Bayelsa APC's governorship candidate David Lyon over the Bayelsa Election. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
A police truck is stationed at the entrance of Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abuja during the review of Bayelsa APC’s governorship candidate David Lyon over the Bayelsa Election. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Men of the Nigeria Correction Service departs the Federal High Court in Abuja as they convey convicts to the Kuje Prison in Abuja. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
Men of the Nigeria Correction Service departs the Federal High Court in Abuja as they convey convicts to the Kuje Prison in Abuja on February 25, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, display the image of the corona virus (covid-19) at a press conference in Abuja on the confirmed case of coronavirus on February 28, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, display the image of the corona virus (covid-19) at a press conference in Abuja on the confirmed case of coronavirus on February 28, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels TV

 

 

A soldier checks the body temperature of a visitor to the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital at Yaba in Lagos, on February 28, 2020. - Nigeria reported the first new coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on February 28, 2020 and a major global auto show was cancelled in a bid to stop contagion, as the deadly epidemic sent global stock markets and oil prices plunging. Photo: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
A soldier checks the body temperature of a visitor to the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital at Yaba in Lagos, on February 28, 2020. Photo: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

 

A Reverend sister marks faithful with ash as Catholics mark the beginning of the Lenten season wearing black to show grievances at the rate of security challenges in Nigeria. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
A Reverend sister marks faithful with ash as Catholics mark the beginning of the Lenten season wearing black to show grievances at the rate of security challenges in Nigeria. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

An aerial view of catholics as they mark the beginning of the Lenten season wearing black to show grievances at the rate of security challenges in Nigeria. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
An aerial view of catholics as they mark the beginning of the Lenten season wearing black to show grievances at the rate of security challenges in Nigeria. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Disappointed subscribers of the nationwide Workers Housing Scheme on Monday, February 24, 2020, stormed the headquarters of the NLC, Abuja in protest over FG Nationwide Workers Housing scheme they see as fraud. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
Disappointed subscribers of the nationwide Workers Housing Scheme on Monday, February 24, 2020, stormed the headquarters of the NLC, Abuja in protest over FG Nationwide Workers Housing scheme they see as fraud. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Disappointed subscribers of the nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme on Monday, February 24, 2020, stormed the headquarters of the NLC, Abuja in protest over FG Nationwide Workers Housing scheme they see as fraud. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV
The disappointed subscribers hold up banners. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Demonstrators clash with the police during a protest against Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's government in Vina del Mar, on February 23, 2020, during the Vina del Mar Music Festival. (Photo by Martin BERNETTI / AFP)
Demonstrators clash with the police during a protest against Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s government in Vina del Mar, on February 23, 2020, during the Vina del Mar Music Festival. (Photo by Martin BERNETTI / AFP)

 

 

A couple of revellers enjoy the mud during the "Bloco da Lama", a mud carnival party, in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on February 22, 2020. - "Bloco da Lama" started in 1986 with teenagers playing with mud and became a traditional event at the historical city of Paraty. Photo by DANIEL RAMALHO / AFP
A couple of revellers enjoy the mud during the “Bloco da Lama”, a mud carnival party, in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, on February 22, 2020. – “Bloco da Lama” started in 1986 with teenagers playing with mud and became a traditional event at the historical city of Paraty. Photo by DANIEL RAMALHO / AFP

 

 

Manchester United's Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo (R) scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg football match between Manchester United and Club Brugge at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 27, 2020. Photo: Oli SCARFF / AFP
Manchester United’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo (R) scores his team’s second goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg football match between Manchester United and Club Brugge at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on February 27, 2020. Photo: Oli SCARFF / AFP

Ighalo Scores Debut Man Utd Goal

 

Odion Ighalo, Manchester United’s January signing from China, has scored his first goal for the club. 

Ighalo scored his debut goal in Manchester United’s game against Club Brugge.

READ ALSO: Landmark Man City Win In Madrid Vindicates Guardiola

His goal came six minutes after Bruno Fernandes put the Red Devils ahead from a penalty kick in the 27th minute.

United made it 3:0 just before the half-time break, with a goal from Scott McTominay.

Europa: Ighalo May Start Against Club Brugge, Says Solskjaer

A file photo of Odion Ighalo. Source: [email protected]

 

 

Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has hinted that former Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, might make the first-11 squad in Thursday’s Europa League match against Club Brugge.

Ighalo, who teamed up with the Old Trafford side from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on the January transfer deadline day, was a late substitute as the Red Devils powered home to a 2-0 win over Chelsea in their English Premier League tie on Monday.

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) top scorer almost made a scoring debut in the tie with Frank Lampard’s men but saw his shot parried by Chelsea goalkeeper, Willie Cabballero.

Ighalo is part of United’s team that travelled to Belgium to face Brugge in a round of 16 Europa League first leg encounter.

Addressing a pre-match press conference, Solskjaer praised the former Watford hitman whom he described as a man who “knows his craft”.

He said, “Well I’m not going to tell the team. But we’re going to have to rotate with all the games we’ve got coming up and he’s one of them that could start. We’ve not 100 per cent decided yet.”

According to the 46-year-old Norwegian, Ighalo is a goal scorer who has shown his skills during training.

“Well, for me, Odion is a different type of striker for us. He is a box striker, he’s a goal scorer. We’ve already seen in training that he really knows his craft.”

Coronavirus: Ighalo Trains Alone Outside Man United Facilities

Odion Ighalo. PHOTO CREDIT: @ighalojude/Twitter

 

Odion Ighalo, Manchester United’s January signing from China, has been training away from the club’s facilities as a precaution due to the coronavirus outbreak, British media reported on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Nigerian international striker joined United on loan until the end of the season on January 31 — transfer deadline day — from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

He is due to meet with his United team-mates for the first time this weekend ahead of Monday’s clash with Chelsea as they have been away at a training camp in Spain — Ighalo did not travel because of fears he might have problems re-entering the United Kingdom.

Both The Times and The Daily Mirror reported Ighalo had been told to stay away from the club’s Carrington training centre — where hundreds of staff work — as he went through a 14-day quarantine period.

The former Watford star — who has not played a competitive match since December 6 — has instead been put through his paces by a personal trainer at the GB Taekwondo Headquarters in Manchester, not far from rivals Manchester City’s ground.

The British government called the novel coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat”, and said anyone with the disease can now be forcibly quarantined if they are deemed a threat to public health. There are nine confirmed cases in Britain.

More than 1,350 people have died in China from the virus, and nearly 60,000 others have been infected.

Most cases have involved people who had been in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city where the virus emerged late last year, or people infected by others who had been at the epicentre.

AFP

Premier League: Ighalo Makes United Squad For Chelsea Clash

 

Odion Ighalo will be in the Manchester United squad for the Premier League clash with Chelsea next Monday despite missing a training camp in Spain due to fears he could be denied re-entry into Britain if restrictions against the outbreak of Coronavirus are tightened.

The 30-year-old Nigerian international striker joined United on loan until the end of the season on deadline day last month from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

The British government called the novel coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat”, and said anyone with the disease can now be forcibly quarantined if they are deemed a threat to public health as the number of cases in Britain doubled to eight.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surged past 1,000 on Tuesday.

Most cases overseas have involved people who had been in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city where the virus emerged late last year, or people infected by others who had been at the epicentre.

United said Saturday in a statement that Ighalo had been left out of the Spain squad to avoid any potential problems related to the killer virus on re-entry to Britain.

However, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club’s website Ighalo will be in the squad for a match that could have a crucial bearing on who finishes in the top four this term and qualifies for the Champions League next season.

“Yeah, he is going to travel with us,” said Solskjaer.

“We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp.

“We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us.”

Ighalo, who has played his club football in China for the past three years after joining Changchun Yatai from Watford, was signed as emergency cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

Chelsea presently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot and are six points clear of eighth-placed United.

The other three Champions League places look destined for Liverpool, Manchester City and third-placed Leicester, who have a 10 point advantage over fifth-placed Sheffield United and a game in hand to boot.

AFP

Ighalo To Miss United Training Over Coronavirus Fears

 

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo will not join up with his new teammates on a training camp in Spain this week due to fears he could be denied re-entry to the United Kingdom if restrictions against the outbreak of Coronavirus are tightened.

Ighalo joined United on loan until the end of the season on deadline day last month from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

“Due to the current situation in China, it has been decided that new signing Odion Ighalo will not travel to Spain as it is not guaranteed that he’d clear UK immigration on return should border restrictions tighten on travellers who’ve been in China within the past 14 days,” United said in a statement.

“Odion will stay in Manchester on a personal training and fitness programme so that he will be ready to join in team training sessions when the squad return from the trip.

“This is simply a precautionary measure as the situation continues to be monitored.”

Ighalo, who has played his club football in China for the past three years after joining Changchun Yatai from Watford, was signed as emergency cover for the injured Marcus Rashford.

“Of course he might have liked to have come with the players and got to know them, but the risk (of border restrictions tightening), we don’t want to take that,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford and Paul Pogba are also noticeable absentees from the United squad headed to Spain as they will continue their recovery in Manchester.

United are not in action again until they travel to Chelsea in a crucial battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League on February 17.

AFP

‘Ighalo Has Nothing To Lose’

Odion Ighalo starred for Watford during his previous stint in the English premier league.
Odion Ighalo starred for Watford during his previous stint in the English premier league.

 

Former Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo’s surprise move to Manchester United has been generating a lot of reaction from football pundits across the world.

Speaking on Sky Sports News former United centre-back Jaap Stam said Ighalo has nothing to lose by making the switch from China.

“He’s got nothing to lose because nobody thought he would be a United player,” Stam said.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Sign Odion Ighalo On Loan

He added: “United have confidence in him. We’re all a bit surprised, but he can just go in there and do his thing. We all want to see United get back up there.

“Like all former players and United supporters, we wish him well. He’s joining a big family. Everybody within the club hopes that every player will do well and is going to perform.

“I’m sure he’ll feel welcome and hopefully he’s going to produce.”

“He’s now playing with better players than he was at Watford, so he will get more opportunities to score than at Watford.

“I’m sure he’s got the ability. He wasn’t their first choice, but you assume people have seen him and trust what he can bring.”

Another former United player, Gary Neville, believes Ighalo might just be what the club needs at the moment.

“The boy may do very well,” he said. “He might come in and settle in, he might score goals and do a job for the club.”

 

Man Utd Sign Odion Ighalo On Loan

Odion Ighalo, Watford
File photo

 

Manchester United’s late swoop for Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo was the most striking move of a quiet transfer deadline day for Premier League clubs on Friday.

United looked set to miss out on cover for the injured Marcus Rashford when interest in Josh King was rebuffed by Bournemouth, but Ighalo, 30, will join on loan for the rest of the season from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

The Red Devils were also responsible for the biggest move of the window with the signing of Portuguese international midfielder Bruno Fernandes for an initial 55 million euros (£47 million, $61 million) that could rise to 80 million euros in add-ons.

However, deals were difficult to do for even some of the world’s richest clubs as Chelsea and Tottenham were frustrated in their search for a striker.

Total spending for the month by English clubs was marginally up from last season’s £180 million ($234 million), but well short of the record £430-million outlay in 2018.

The mid-season window is increasingly seen as an undesirable time to do business for clubs wary of overpaying in a seller’s market.

“We would need a striker to have a better squad to face the great challenges in front of us in three different competitions,” said Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, who must cope without England captain Harry Kane for most of the remainder of the season.

“But we want to do things not to resolve the problems of today or tomorrow but things that are also good for the future.”

Spurs did make one significant signing in Dutch international winger Steven Bergwijn for £27 million from PSV Eindhoven as well as making Giovani Lo Celso’s loan deal from Real Betis into a permanent move to replace Christian Eriksen, who finally departed for Inter Milan.

Lampard Frustrated

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard cut the most frustrated figure as the Blues failed to add a single-player despite seeing their transfer ban lifted.

“It’s clear we wanted to bring players in and I’ve made that pretty clear over the last weeks but it hasn’t happened,” said Lampard on Friday.

Chelsea’s stumbling form has left the door open for United, Tottenham and Wolves to pip them to fourth and a place in next season’s Champions League.

Wolves pounced by adding to their Portuguese contingent with the signing of Daniel Podence from Olympiakos.

Liverpool had no such need to dive into the market as they sit serenely 19 points clear at the top of the table and on course for a first league title in 30 years.

However, the Reds’ leapt on a £7.25-million buyout clause in Japanese international Takumi Minamino’s contract with Red Bull Salzburg.

“The better the season is, the better the squad is, the less you have to do, the more you are happy with the players you have,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

Sheffield United armed their attempt to qualify for Europe for the first time with a club-record £22-million signing of Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge from Genk.

At the bottom of the table, Aston Villa and West Ham were the most active in trying to preserve their top-flight status.

Villa brought in strikers Mbwana Samatta and Borja Baston and experienced goalkeeper Pepe Reina as cover for long-term injuries suffered by Tom Heaton and Wesley.

West Ham had a busy final few days as they secured the loan signing of Czech international Tomas Soucek and a £20-million move for Hull forward Jarrod Bowen.

CAF Nominates Osimhen, Ndidi, Ighalo For 2019 Mens Footballer Awards

 

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has nominated Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Wilfred Ndidi for the 2019 CAF Men Footballer of the Year.

The three players were shortlisted alongside Mohammed Salah of Egypt and 26 others.

The 28th edition of the annual football awards will hold on January 7, 2020, in Egypt.

READ ALSO: Enugu Rangers Protest CAF Cup Afternoon Kick-Off

In the women’s category, Asisat Oshoala is shortlisted alongside Uchenna Kanu, Chiamaka Nnadozie and seven others.

Samuel Chukwueze and Osimhen also made the list of Youth Player of the Year category, fighting it out with 14 others including Moussa Ndiaye of Senegal.

The list of nominees is compiled by a panel of media and technical professionals.

See the full list of nominees for CAF Awards 2019 below:

African Player of the Year

  • Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmund)
  • André Onana (Cameroon & Ajax)
  • Baghdad Bounedjah (Algeria& Al-Sadd)
  • Carolus Andriamatsinoro (Madagascar & Al Adalah)
  • Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Cameroon & Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Ferjani Sassi(Tunisia & Zamalek)
  • Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax)
  • Idrissa Gueye (Senegal & Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Ismail Bennacer (Algeria & AC Milan)
  • Jordan Ayew (Ghana & Crystal Palace)
  • Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli)
  • Kodjo Fo Doh Laba (Togo & Al Ain)
  • Mahmoud Hassan”Trezeguet” (Egypt & Aston Villa)
  • Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk)
  • Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
  • Moussa Marega (Mali & Porto)
  • Naby Keita (Guinea & Liverpool)
  • Nicolas Pepe (Côte d’Ivoire & Arsenal)
  • Odion Ighalo (Nigeria & Shanghai Shenhua)
  • Percy Tau (South Africa & Club Brugge)
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal)
  • Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City)
  • Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)
  • Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia & Esperance)
  • Thomas Teye Partey (Ghana & Atlético Madrid)
  • Victor Osimhen (Nigeria & Lille)
  • Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria & Leicester City)
  • Wilfried Zaha (Côte d’Ivoire & Crystal Palace)
  • Youcef Belaili (Algeria & Ahli Jeddah)

African Women’s Player of the Year

  • Ajara Nchout (Cameroon & Valerenga )
  • Ange N’Guessan (Côte d’Ivoire & Tenerife)
  • Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Barcelona)
  • Chiamaka Nnadozie (Nigeria & Rivers Angels)
  • Elizabeth Addo (Ghana & Jiangsu Suning)
  • Gabrielle Ouguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moscow)
  • Refiloe Jane (South Africa & AC Milan)
  • Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning)
  • Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Beijing Phoenix FC)
  • Uchenna Kanu (Nigeria & Southeastern Fire)

African Interclubs Player of the Year

  • Ali Maaloul (Tunisia & Al Ahly)
  • Anice Badri (Tunisia & Esperance)
  • Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • Emmanuel Okwi (Uganda & Simba)
  • Ferjani Sassi (Tunisia & Zamalek)
  • Fousseny Coulibaly (Cote d’Ivoire & Esperance)
  • Franck Kom (Cameroon & Esperance)
  • Herenilson (Angola & Petro de Luanda)
  • Ismail El Haddad (Morocco & Wydad Casablanca)
  • Jean Marc Makusu (DR Congo & AS VITA)
  • Kodjo Fo Doh Laba (Togo & RS Berkane / Al Ain)
  • Mahmoud Alaa (Egypt & Zamalek)
  • Meddie Kagere (Rwanda & Simba)
  • Meschack Elia (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)
  • Taha Yassine Khenissi (Tunisia & Esperance)
  • Tarek Hamed (Egypt & Zamalek)
  • Themba Zwane (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)
  • Trésor Mputu (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)
  • Walid El Karti (Morocco & Wydad Casablanca)
  • Youcef Belaïli (Algeria & Esperance / Ahli Jeddah)

African Youth Player of the Year

  • Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmund)
  • Amadou Haidara (Mali & RB Leipzig)
  • Amadou Sagna (Senegal & Club Brugge)
  • Enock Mwepu (Zambia & Red Bull Salzburg)
  • Ismaïla Sarr (Senegal & Watford)
  • Krépin Diatta (Senegal & Club Brugge)
  • Moussa Djenepo (Mali & Southampton)
  • Moussa Ndiaye (Senegal & Excellence Foot)
  • Musa Barrow (Gambia & Atalanta)
  • Osvaldo Pedro Capemba ‘Capita’ (Angola & Primeiro de Agosto)
  • Patson Daka (Zambia & Red Bull Salzburg)
  • Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria & Villarreal)
  • Sekou Koita (Mali & Red Bull Salzburg)
  • Steve Regis Mvoue (Cameroon & AS Azur Star)
  • Victor Osimhen (Nigeria & Lille)
  • Zito Luvumbo (Angola & Primeiro de Agosto)

African Men’s Coach of the Year

  • Aliou Cisse (Senegal – Senegal)
  • Christian Gross (Switzerland – Zamalek)
  • Corentin Martins (France – Mauritania)
  • Djamel Belmadi (Algeria – Algeria)
  • Faouzi Benzarti (Tunisia – Wydad Athletic Club)
  • Gernot Rohr (Germany – Nigeria)
  • Moïne Chaâbani (Tunisia – Esperance)
  • Mounir Jaouani (Morocco – Berkane FC)
  • Nicolas Dupuis (France – Madagascar)
  • Pitso Mosimane (South Africa – Mamelodi Sundowns)

African Women’s Coach of the Year

  • Alain Djeumfa (Cameroon)
  • Bruce Mwape (Zambia)
  • Clementine Toure (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Desiree Ellis (South Africa)
  • David Ouma (Kenya)
  • Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)

African Men’s National Team of the Year

  • Algeria
  • Madagascar
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Tunisia

African Women’s National Team of the Year

  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zambia

 

Ighalo Emerges Highest Goal Scorer Of AFCON 2019

 

Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo has emerged highest goal scorer of the African Cup of Nations 2019.

Ighalo won the golden boot with five goals.

Below are other leading goalscorers in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after Algeria won the final in Cairo Friday:

READ ALSO: Algeria Sink Senegal To Claim Second Africa Cup Of Nations

3: Mahrez, Ounas (both ALG), Bakambu (COD), Mane (SEN)

2: Belaili, Bounedjah (both ALG), Elmohamady, Salah (both EGY), Kodjia, Zaha (both CIV), Andriamahitsinoro (MAD), J. Ayew (GHA), Bahoken (CMR), En-Nesyri (MAR), Msakni (TUN), Okwi (UGA), Olunga (KEN), Pote (BEN), Yattara (GUI), Zungu (RSA).

AFP

AFCON 2019: Ighalo Says Team Success More Important Than Golden Boot

Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr (2nd-R) celebrates with Nigeria’s forward Alex Iwobi (R) and Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 6, 2019.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Odion Ighalo insisted on Tuesday that team success is far more important than personal accolades with his goals driving Nigeria’s run to the quarter-finals in Egypt.

The China-based forward finished as the leading scorer in qualifying for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, and Ighalo is level alongside Senegal star Sadio Mane at the top of the charts with three goals so far at the finals.

“If I don’t win golden boot but won the trophy I’d be very happy because we are here to do that,” Ighalo said ahead of Wednesday’s clash against South Africa in Cairo.

“I didn’t say I’m not interested but we are here as a team and want to try and win it as a team. I’m a striker I want to score goals but if they don’t come and we win the game I will be more satisfied.”

Ighalo came in for sharp criticism after the Super Eagles were knocked out in the group stage at last year’s World Cup, but coach Gernot Rohr was full of praise for the way he has responded.

“After the World Cup Ighalo was criticised much more than normal,” Rohr recounted. “We spoke together and I saw that he’s very strong mentally.

“Even if his family was a bit scared, he accepted the challenge to come back and play in Seychelles in the first game after the World Cup and give his answer on the pitch. He was the best goalscorer in the qualifiers and when you have someone so strong it’s really happy for the team and the coach.”

After scoring the winner in Nigeria’s opening Cup of Nations game against Burundi, Ighalo delivered a match-winning performance against defending champions Cameroon in the last 16.

He scored twice and set up Alex Iwobi for the decisive goal in Alexandria as Nigeria rallied from 2-1 down to earn a thrilling 3-2 victory. Ighalo used his feet to again hit back at his detractors.

“I don’t really pay attention to critics. I’m a professional and people are bound to criticise me. I think everybody here has been criticised one way or another but you don’t let that get to you,” said Ighalo.

“As long as the coach is satisfied with my job and everything I give on the field, I don’t really pay attention to what people say outside.

“I just give my best in every game I play. Sometimes it won’t be enough but I’m satisfied I gave my best.”

AFP

AFCON 2019 Qualifiers: Ighalo Tops Goal Scorers Chart

File: Odion Ighalo

 

Super Eagles of Nigeria’s forward, Odion Ighalo topped the goalscorers’ chart after the final rounds of qualifying matches for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Ighalo who plays for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, finished with seven goals, followed by Fiston Abdul-Razak of Burundi, who scored six goals.

READ ALSO: EURO 2020 Qualifier: Croatia Slump To Hungary Defeat

The Super Eagles’ striker scored one against Seychelles, a brace against Libya, a hat-trick against Libya, and one against Seychelles in the final rounds to move top on the list.

Ighalo had come under heavy criticisms by fans for failing to register a goal for Nigeria during the 2018 world cup tournament in Russia.

However, the national team hopes to make an impact in this year’s competition, after missing out on the last two tournaments in 2015 and 2017.