Ighalo says he couldn't deal with hate comments and death threats on his wife and kids.
Everyone who saw Odion Ighalo at the Krestovsky Stadium in Russia after Nigeria’s 1-2 loss to Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup shares the same tale of how dejected he was after the game.
Before Marcos Rojo’s 86th minute winner for Argentina, Ighalo had missed two decent chances to put Nigeria in the lead. The loss meant that Nigeria exited the 2018 World Cup from the group stage and Ighalo became the bete noire of Nigerian football fans.
They came after him on where they could, his Instagram and Twitter pages bombarded with hate comments. Even his wife was not spared. Till this very moment, Ighalo still has the comment section disabled from his Instagram.
His mood was however different at the Stade Taïeb Mhiri in Sfax after his brace for the Super Eagles against Libya on Tuesday, October 16. His brace on Tuesday night made it five goals for the Super Eagles in just two games after his hattrick in the first leg against Libya which Nigeria won 4-0.
He put up a video of himself enjoying sounds from the drums and trumpets of the Nigerian Supporters Club in Sfax, Tunisia. And he was smiling again.
It has been a rollercoaster four months for Ighalo who now feels at home with the Super Eagles after falling out of love with the national team.
"I know the fans want me to score goals. I understand them," the China-based striker told Kwese Sports after the game against Libya on Tuesday.
"But some of them took it to another level.
"They said a lot of things. To my innocent kids, to my wife, even to the extent they threatened my life and the life of my family."
“I felt very bad [when they went after my family]. I had to talk to my wife because she couldn't take it,” Ighalo continued.
“Some words they said about my kids, about me. Some words they said to her, threatening and all that. That is beyond football.
"You know women and how they react when you talk about their children. But I never said a word to nobody and I never replied anybody."
The Changchun Yatai further revealed that the ordeal almost made him quit the national team but it took the intervention from Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr for the striker not to retire from Super Eagles duties.
“I want to thank Rohr because after the World Cup and all those things happened, he called me before the Seychelles game [in September] and I told him I was contemplating stopping because it is not easy,” Ighalo also said.
Rohr then expressed his belief in him and stated that he had him in his plans.
“That gave me the confidence which I believed that I needed. I want to thank him for defending me, and giving me the words like a father, encouraging me, talking to me,” Ighalo said.
“He gave me more belief and I thank God for repaying him with these goals."
Source: Pulse Sports