Gernot Rohr defends Ighalo's invitation, spoilt for attacking option vs. Libya

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The Super Eagles coach handed call-ups to eight attackers with the in-form Changchun Yatai marksman top of the bunch

Odion Ighalo's impressive form in China made him a shoo-in in Gernot Rohr's set-up to face Libya in an African Cup of Nations qualifiers doubleheader on Saturday, the coach said.

The striker has bagged 20 goals in 25 Chinese Super League games for Changchun Yatai this season and, although Rohr acknowledged his below-par outing at the World Cup, his showings in Asia were enough reason to hand him a second consecutive call-up after the disappointing summer in Russia.

“Ighalo is a player who did very well for the country during the World Cup qualifiers, particularly against Cameroon,” Rohr said in a pre-match conference.

“He had a difficult World Cup, which was not so easy for him, but he is doing well for his club having scored over 20 goals – it was a good reason to invite him.

“And we don’t have the time to change all our offensive players and that was why we invited Isaac Success.”

With eight attackers part of the 24-man squad for the doubleheader, the Super Eagles are blessed with several offensive talents, each offering a dynamic to how the German tactician - who hopes the new ones strike the right chord with the existing players - opts to attack.

“The problem is to find the understanding with the other players. We have a new player in Samuel Kalu, so we need more communication,” he continued.

“We can also play like we did against Iceland with two strikers, where we lined up Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho.

“We also have Henry Onyekuru who plays for Galatasaray. He scored a fantastic goal against Liberia. So we are good in that area.

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“Also the spirit of competition is now there in the team.

“Winning Libya won’t be easy, that’s why we are preparing hard for this game. With two wins, we are through to the Afcon," he concluded.

 

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