Shanghai Shenhua of China striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has played down the urge to emerge highest goals scorer at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, as he says the attention should be on Nigeria’s team as a whole, and he only wants to help the Super Eagles win the competition.
Although Ighalo admitted it would be exciting and delightful for him to keep scoring at AFCON 2019, which would take him top of the scorers’ log, the former Flying Eagles’ captain insisted that the biggest target for him is collective glory for the team and country as a whole.
The former Julius Berger, Prime FC, Lyn Oslo, Udinese, Granada, Watford and Changchun Yatai star, who gave the sign of love with his fingers to celebrate his brace of goals on Saturday, then ended the match with his now popular kneeling down style of gratitude to God, with hands raised to heaven, said he is happy to be in top scoring form at AFCON 2019.
Ighalo also acknowledged that it would be great for him to emulate Nigeria’s previous AFCON top scorers, Segun Odegbami, Rashidi Yekini, Julius Efosa Aghahowa, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Emmanuel Emenike, but stressed that he is putting the team first ahead of personal success.
He went on to admit that Wednesday’s match will be very tough, but stated further during Mega Sports on Star 101.5 FM, Lagos that losing is not acceptable by any Nigerian and the Eagles are also condemned to think only of victory from the potentially explosive encounter in Cairo.
Incidentally, Ighalo is Nigeria’s leading scorer since the appointment of Gernot Rohr as Eagles’ coach, as the China-based star, who was the top scorer overall in the AFCON 2019 qualifiers, has 11 goals in competitive matches under the Franco-German tactician.
Ighalo said: ”First I want to thank God, I am very happy. I am a striker, I want to score goals but if the goal does not come and we win the game, I’ll be more satisfied.
“While I have enjoyed scoring three times in Egypt, it is irrelevant who puts the ball in the net as long as he is a Nigerian.
“We want to win the title a fourth time, but South Africa also want to get their hands on the trophy, as do all the other title contenders.
”I’ll put the team ahead because if I don’t win the Golden Boot and we win the trophy I’ll be very happy because we are here to do that.
“We are ready, we are ready to go. We know it will be a tough game, but losing is not acceptable.”