Leading scorer with six goals in the qualification series for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo has revealed that his family got death threat that almost made him to consider international retirement.
Since his superlative opening goal in last year’s 4-0 rout of Cameroon in Uyo, Ighalo fired blank, especially in the World Cup match with Argentina which made him a villain to many fans of the Super Eagles.
Ighalo after the World Cup match with Argentina.
When he resumed goal scoring by netting in Nigeria’s third goal in the 3-0 defeat of Seychelles, many still did not reckon with him, possibly on account of the relative strength of the opposition and possibly because the goal was from the penalty spot.
All that changed after a five-star performance against Libya which saw him scoring five goals in two matches.
According to Africanfootball.com, the 29-year-old is the name on everyone’s lips in Nigeria.
He bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over the North African’s before netting a brace in the reverse fixture – that ended 3-2 in Nigeria’s favour – to fire his country to the cusp of qualification for next year’s showpiece.
The former Watford forward, though, has revealed that he considered quitting International football following threats made to his family in aftermath of Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup exit.
“I know the fans want me to score goals. I understand them. But some of them took it to another level,” he told KweseESPN.
“They said a lot of things. To my innocent kids, to my wife, even to the extent they threatened my life and the life of my family.
“I felt very bad (when they threatened my family). I had to talk to my wife because she could not take it. Some words they said about my kids, about me. Some words they said to her, threatening and all that. That is beyond football.
“My wife said ‘you don’t have to go there (to Nigeria) any more’ and it was because of all what they said to her and to our family.”