Odion Ighalo’s failure to make the much-anticipated return from injury has left Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Gernot Rohr scratching his head and wondering if his top striker would be fit for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with just 18 days to kick off.
What appeared to be positive news about Ighalo resuming full training last Tuesday was cut short when the striker failed to make the Shanghai Shenhua squad that were held to a goalless draw at home by Chongqing Lifan in a Chinese Super League game played last Saturday.
It is now twenty-four days that the former Watford striker last featured in a competitive game for Shanghai Shenhua, having suffered a hamstring injury in the 12th minute of his side’s 1-1 draw at Tianjin Teda on May 10.
Ighalo resumed trained fully for the first time with the rest of his teammates on Tuesday after making what was described as a remarkably quick return from the hamstring injury. In his absence, his team got beaten 3-1 by Shandong Luneng on May 17 and also got defeated 1-0 by Dalian Yifang on May 26.
Prior to his spell on the sidelines, the Nigerian who was manager Quique Sánchez Flores’ first choice striker had scored 7 goals in nine games for the Chinese side who are now in the relegation zone.
Nigeria began their first phase of preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a training camp which opened in Asaba, Delta State yesterday and Ighalo has been named in the provisional 25-man list released by Rohr.