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EXCLUSIVE: Why Al Shabab refused to release Ighalo for AFCON

EXCLUSIVE: Why Al Shabab refused to release Ighalo for AFCON
January 06
08:30 2022

The terms of Odion Ighalo’s contract is the reason for Al Shabab’s refusal to release him for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) commencing in Cameroon on Sunday, TheCable has learnt.

With seven days to the Super Eagles’ opening match against Egypt, the highest goal scorer at the last AFCON is stuck in Saudi as his club has refused to allow him to link up with the Eagles.

An insider close to the player told TheCable that Ighalo’s contract has a clause that says “he will not play for his national team”.

On Tuesday, TheCable reported that the 32-year-old striker will not make the 33rd edition of the tournament.

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“When Ighalo signed with the Saudi outfit, he already retired from international football. He was not part of the national team,” the insider told TheCable.

“His contract with Al Shabab has a clause in it that stipulated that he will not play for the national team.

“Maybe he thought he was never going to come back to the national team.

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“The NFF went through a lot of stress too when Rohr invited him for the World Cup qualifier games against Liberia and Cape Verde.

“That was why he was not listed for the Liberia match played in Morocco. It took a lot of pacifying on the part of the NFF before the Al Shabab allowed him to play the Lesotho match in Lagos.”

On Wednesday, the former Watford player took to his Instagram page to say “we plan but God decides” — in what is believed to be a confirmation of his absence from Augustine Eguavoen’s squad.

Ighalo is Al Shabab’s highest goal scorer with 11 goals from 15 games in this campaign.

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