By Emmanuel Okogba
Odion Ighalo has revealed how he turned down the offer to retake the number 9 jersey he wore before his intial retirement after it was offered to him by a top NFF official.
Victor Osimhen, the Napoli of Italy hitman now wears that number, but upon his return to the team, Ighalo was offered the jersey which he turned down and opted for any other available number. He wore the number 8 in his first game after his return from retirement when the Super Eagles hosted Cape Verde in Lagos last month.
Both strikers started the game that Nigeria went on to draw 1-1.
Ighalo said this in an interview with ESPN when he was asked about replacing Osimhen as Super Eagles first choice striker.
“Before I left the national team, I personally called Osimhen and said I’m leaving, this position is for you and if you work hard you’re going to rule Nigeria for a long time. I’m happy seeing him doing well and I’m here to support him.” He said
“And before I came back, I told the coach ‘Osimhen is the number one striker, I will just support in whatever way you want me to support’ and I’m here to do that.”
“A top NFF official told me I could have the number nine jersey back and I told him no. I had left it. Osimhen is using it now and coming back, I’m going to play with any jersey number.
“I told them to give me any jersey available. I can play with my bare skin for Nigeria, I’m a patriotic Nigerian. If it means me playing without a shirt in this team, I’m going to play. It’s not the shirt that score the goals.”