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WC Qualification Africa

'We need a little patience with Ighalo' - Rohr urges caution with Nigeria attacker

10:02 SAST 2021/11/17
Odion Ighalo
The Super Eagles handler has urged supporters not to read too much into the Al Shabab striker’s performance against the Blue Sharks

The goals will come again for Odion Ighalo if he is given enough time to settle, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr says.

After a two-year hiatus from the Super Eagles, the former Manchester United striker made a return to the team in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde.

Ighalo was in action in the 1-1 draw against Bubista’s Blue Sharks before he was subbed off for Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho.

The return of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top-scorer was expected to add more depth to Nigeria’s attack, and when asked why his team still struggled in front of goal with the 32-year-old’s presence, Rohr told the media: “We need a little patience with Ighalo.

“He has not been with us for more than one year, he needs the time to find the harmony.

“I think we saw interesting things [from Ighalo’s partnership] with Osimhen, and with him, Osimhen will grow and will learn a lot.

“Now, I am sure that for the 2021 Afcon, we can prepare with these two players – something which is more harmonious.

“[The game against Cape Verde] was like a final – a very special game and some of the chances we had came off the help of Ighalo.

“So, let’s have a little patience, give us a little time to work with him together and the goals will come again.”

Earlier, the German tactician claimed that his men deserved to have scored at least a second goal against the visitors at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“First of all, sometimes, a draw can be like a victory. That was the case today. Because we wanted to qualify, we knew that a draw is already qualification,” he told the media.

“It was not an easy game because Cape Verde have a good technical team and they scored a goal in a moment when we believed we had the match in the hands.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first half, and I think we deserved to score a second goal.

“That did not come, and we had to defend, and the players did it very well."

Notwithstanding the outcome, the Super Eagles are through to the third round – where Africa’s representatives for Qatar 2022 will be determined.