Odion Ighalo, the Nigeria forward said on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, that he is standing by his decision to retire from international football despite an attempt by Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, President Amaju Pinnick to persuade him to change his mind.
Ighalo finished as both 2019 Africa Cup of nations, AFCON, qualifying top scorer with seven goals and tournament top scorer with five, helping Nigeria to beat Tunisia 1-0 to claim the bronze last Wednesday night, and then announced his retirement soon after.
On Saturday, July 20, 2019, Pinnick had claimed that the striker had reversed his decision. But Ighalo said that was not the case
“It is not true that I have reversed my decision,” Ighalo said. “The (NFF) President spoke to me and asked me to reconsider. Out of respect for him, I said I would think about it. I consulted with my family and we decided that the best thing for me now is to stand by the decision.
“I love my country and it was not an easy decision to make. But I believe the time is right. I am now out for eight weeks and my club are not happy about it, but I thank God for everything.”
Ighalo, something of a late bloomer, made his senior debut for Nigeria in 2015 as the Super Eagles lost 0-1 to Uganda in a friendly.
He finished with 35 appearances for Nigeria, scoring 16 goals, an average of just under a goal a game.