By Izuchukwu Okosi
Former Super Eagles striker and 1997 African Footballer of the Year winner Victor Ikpeba Thursday night insist that Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo does not owe Nigerian football faithful an apology for his misfiring performance in the team’s last Group D match of the 2018 World Cup against Argentina.
The three time African champions lost 2-1 to the South Americans captained by Lionel Messi which culminated in the team’s exit.
The Changchun Yatai star was presented with some glaring chances which he did not convert.
Ikpeba said: “I want Nigerians to stop criticising Odion Ighalo. I’m not happy that we (Nigeria) did not win, if Ighalo had converted his chances, we could have played France in the round of 16,” Ikpeba told Brila FM Thursday night.
“The team was not lucky in Russia. Ighalo should not be begging for those missed chances. Such things happen in football. If England had scored from their chances against Croatia, they may have been playing in the World Cup final.
“If the Eagles had up to six players who play in top clubs across the world like the Croatian national team that have players in clubs like Inter Milan (Ivan Perisic), Real Madrid (Luka Modric), Juventus (Mario Mandzukic), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Liverpool (Dejan Lovren), Mario Brozovic (Inter Milan) and Atletico Madrid (Sime Vrsjalko), we could have done better but I believe they will be better in Qatar 2022.
Ikpeba commented on the move by current World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Serie A champions, Juventus.
“Cristiano has more character than Lionel Messi. I won’t say that he’s really better than Messi although I want to say that they are different players. I don’t see Messi ever playing for another club in Europe other than Barca.
“Who knows, Ronaldo may go to the Ligue 1 next after two seasons, to PSG, but he should not go to AS Monaco o. He won’t pay tax,” the former Monaco star fondly called ‘The Prince of Monaco’ said in laughter.
Ikpeba also starred for Borussia Dortmund. He is a now a brand ambassador for a leading betting company and a television pundit.