Odion Ighalo, Super Eagles striker, may not participate in the forthcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.
An insider with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said that Al Shabab, Ighalo’s Saudi Arabia Pro League side, have refused to allow him to link up with his international teammates.
Ighalo, who was the highest goal scorer at the 2019 AFCON, was on the scoresheet for his club in their 4-3 win over Al-Ahli Saudi on Saturday.
It’s understood that the NFF is doing everything possible to ensure that Al Shabab allow Ighalo to join the three-time African champions on time for the African football showpiece.
“Because Ighalo is their highest goal scorer and he also scored in their game on Saturday, they do not want to release him,” the insider said.
“They do not want him to leave for the AFCON so that he can help them have a shot at winning the league this season.
“You know that he has netted 11 goals for them this season and they are second on the table with a hope of winning the league if they continue to win and Ighalo keeps scoring goals for them.”
It had earlier been reported how Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis were replaced in the Super Eagles 28-man provisional list by Henry Onyekuru and Peter Olayinka respectively over controversial reasons.
“But I can assure you that NFF is doing everything possible to ensure that he is released. Because after Osimhen pulled out and Dennis too was not released by Watford, we can’t afford to lose Ighalo in the team,” the source added.
“It will be devastating for the Eagles if Al Shabab refused to allow him to join the team for Cameroon.”