YESSENTUKI, RUSSIA - JUNE 12: Odion Ighalo of Nigeria poses for a portrait during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session on June 12, 2018 in Yessentuki, Russia. (Photo by Dan Mullan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr has made public his reasons for not including Shanghai Shenhua star, Odion Ighalo in the starting lineup in the team’s opening AFCON campaign against Burundi on Saturday, has scooped.
Everyone was expecting to see the Super Eagles highest goals scorer and hero during the AFCON qualifiers, but Rohr opted for Paul Onuachu as a replacement.

In an interview by AllNigeria Soccer which was monitored by, the former Mali manager said it was a tactical decision not to start the former Watford FC striker.

“Burundi were in the same group with Mali and qualified and we saw the games as they went unbeaten throughout the qualifiers.

“It was not easy especially, as it was difficult to score the first goal. We knew that if the first goal did not come early, we would suffer and have to work hard to win the match.

“Our plan was to bring in Ighalo when the other team perhaps give us more space and it happened, but we had a big problem physically, because so many players were sick in the last two weeks and half of the team caught the virus and couldn’t train” Rohr clarified.

The Franco-German also talked about the current squad condition, saying they have bounced back and doing what they know how to do best.

“We had lost two players in the training sessions, although, the squad is in good shape now and I am happy that the solidarity of the team made the difference,” Rohr concluded.

Nigeria will be looking to solidify their grip on Group B when they go head to head with Guinea on the 26th of June.