Exclusive: Nigeria hero Odion Ighalo nearly quit after death threats

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It was a long and nightmarish northern summer for Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo, who has rebounded to not only top of the scoring list in these Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but worm his way back into the hearts of Super Eagles fans.

After a dire World Cup campaign, where he was roundly blamed for the defeat to Argentina that saw the Africans crash out of the tournament, he’s gone on to score five goals in two qualifier games against Libya.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Scoring a hat-trick, he heard his name sung from the stands as he was subbed off after 75 minutes of the first game on the weekend. He was then serenaded by supporters in the second game on Tuesday, as he scored twice and provided one assist.

Beaming as he deflected personal praise in his first interview since the World Cup, the trademark Ighalo smile, which had been dimmed for months, flashed as he pointed to team effort instead.5

“The team really worked hard, it is a good team performance and I am happy to score five goals in two games but it is an all-round performance and I am happy with the team performance.

“We are 99 per cent sealed the ticket to the Cup of Nations,” he told Kwes√©ESPN in an exclusive interview in Sfax, Tunisia, where the second match was played.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

But all of this nearly did not happen. Sitting down in the changing room of the Taieb Mhiri Stadium, Ighalo reflected on what has been a challenging last few months for him and his family.

For a fleeting moment, the ever-present smile turned wry, then retreated as Ighalo opened up about how he and his family — including his children — endured vitriolic abuse, and even received death threats on social media, after a World Cup performance where even he admitted he had not played up to his own high standards.