Nigeria/Egypt: Super Eagles Can Stop Pharaohs – Ighalo

One player Nigeria coach Samson Siasia will be looking to for goals against Egypt in this weekend’s AFCON 2017 double-header is England-based forward Odion Ighalo.

The 26-year-old striker is undoubtedly Nigeria’s man of the moment with his fine scoring form for Watford in the English Premier League and he relishes the prospect of leading the Super Eagles’ charge against the Pharaohs.

I’m equally looking forward to the AFCON qualifier against Egypt like every Nigerian,” Ighalo, who recently aided Watford to a place at the last four of the FA Cup at the expense of holders Arsenal.

“These matches (against Egypt) are important and crucial towards our aspirations of playing at the next tournament in Gabon,” he added.

The Nigerian has been the Hornets’ leading scorer in the English Premier League (EPL) with 14 goals on the last count and believes his rich vein of form will come handy against the seven-time African champions.

The Super Eagles will host the Pharaohs on Friday, 25 March 2016 in Kaduna before traveling to the Egyptian city of Alexandria four days later for the return leg.

“My attitude towards these two matches against Egypt would be similar to Watford’s. I will give my best and play with a lot of determination. We know the matches against Egypt are not going to be easy but with determination, we shall be victorious.”

Ighalo has shown overtime that he is a team player and he reckons that the Super Eagles’ collective efforts would be a huge factor against the Pharaohs, currently atop the standings on six points, two points richer than the West Africans.

“Against Egypt, it is not only about counting on Odion Ighalo. It is going to be about team effort and I want to believe as a team, we have what it takes to confront Egypt.

“For instance at Watford, if I don’t score others still do because football is a team effort; and I want to believe with our collective effort, we would get good results against Egypt.”

Ighalo is unperturbed by the recent change in the coaching staff of the Super Eagles following the dramatic resignation of Oliseh, saying he was ready to work his socks for any gaffer in charge and ensure victory for Nigeria.

“I will as usual give more than 100 per cent irrespective of the fact that we have new coaches in charge of the team. There is nothing new and I would go out there and do my best like I have always done under previous coaches.”

Back at Watford, Ighalo has won everybody over including coach Quique Sanchez Flores who gave him a pat on the back following the goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup.

“The coach has been motivating me and telling me to keep working hard and that the goal will come at the right time. Eventually, it (goal) came against Arsenal and I’m happy about it. Personally, it would be a dream come for me playing at Wembley.”

Though, having a chance of playing on at Wembley is a welcome boost to his career, Ighalo said the quest for the ticket to the 2017 AFCON finals is equally important.

“It has always been a dream to play at the Wembley Stadium because it is regarded as the traditional home of football in England. My focus now is on the coming matches against Egypt and as I said earlier, our collective efforts would see us through.”

The Super Eagles beat Chad 2-0 in Kaduna before playing out a barren draw with Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in their two previous games.

Source: All Africa