Ighalo returns to first team as Kalu faces late fitness test

PHOTO: Twitter/Oluwashina

Super Eagles’ hero in the 1-0 defeat of Burundi in Nigeria’s opening game of the on-going African Nations Cup, Odion Ighalo will start today’s match against Guinea, officials of the team have revealed.

Ighalo was a second half substitute against Burundi, but he became the hero in the 77th minute when he got the lone goal of the game. Apart from the goal, his over all movement and presence in the match were said to have convinced Gernot Rohr that his long-standing number one striker is ready to resume the role.

Samuel Kalu, who returned to training on Monday after missing the earlier sessions and Saturday’s match, will face a late fitness test to determine if he would be in the matchday squad today. But defenders, Abdullahi Shehu and Jamilu Collins are definitely out of the game due to injuries.

Rohr explained: “The injury of Jamilu Collins came only the day before the match in the last training session, three weeks of preparations he was not injured.

“He was one of the fittest players, his club has been promoted to the Bundesliga so there was no reason not to play him, it was a little accident in the last training session.

“His injury is not a great one so it is only a few days but he is too early for this match, he cannot play in this match. I hope to have him for the match on Sunday, the third match against Madagascar.”

On Abdullahi, the Franco-German said: “Shehu is a little bit longer because his injury is not the same. I think he won’t be available on Sunday but we have a player who can play well in his position on the right.

‘’He did it very well in the second half last game against Burundi, so the only problem now is to bring in Kalu again. Perhaps, he can start, perhaps not, we will see in the last training session.

“Ighalo is very fit now and he will start the game.”

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