How Death Threats Almost Made Ighalo Quit Super Eagles
Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo is now a 'thin god' of some sort with fans singing his praises and his name trending on social media.
Few months ago, it was a completely different scenario as Ighalo claims some supposed angry football fans threatened his life, that of his wife and children after his big miss at the last World Cup in Russia.
Ighalo confessed that the threats; especially those to his family made him consider quitting the national team.
The former Watford striker endured a torrid tournament in Russia in June as the Super Eagles crashed out in the group stage of the competition – failing to find the back of the net despite being served chances – especially in the 2-1 loss to Argentina.
The performance earned him criticisms from fans back home, with many taking to the social media to vent their anger at the 29-year-old.
Ighalo told KweseESPN that the period after the World Cup was tough for him.
“I know the fans want me to score goals. I understand them. But some of them took it to another level. They said a lot of things. To my innocent kids, to my wife, even to the extent that they threatened my life and the life of my family.
“I felt very bad. I had to talk to my wife because she could not take it – some words they said about my kids, about me and some words they said to her, the threats and all. That is beyond football.
“You know women and how they react when you talk about their children. But I never said a word to anybody and I never replied anyone. My wife said ‘you don’t have to go there (to Nigeria) any more’. And I knew it was because of all what they said to her and to our family.”
The former Granada striker said he did not quit because Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr convinced him to stay with the team.
“I want to thank Rohr because after the World Cup and all those things happened, he called me before the Seychelles game and I told him I was contemplating stopping because it is not easy,” he said.
“But the coach had belief in me. He said ‘I know you are a good goalscorer and I know you can do it. Come and show them that you can score.’ If a coach believes in me, then I will come. I told him ‘coach, if I am in your plans 100 per cent then I will honour the invitation any time you call me.’
“He said ‘yes, you are in my plans for the games’. Then he said ‘don’t be under pressure, just go do your thing, I know you can do it.’ That gave me the confidence which I believed I needed. I want to thank him for defending me, and giving me the words like a father, encouraging me, talking to me. He gave me more belief and I thank God for repaying him with these goals.”
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