Nigeria Coach Gernot Rohr has reacted about the retirement of Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel and striker Odion Jude Ighalo from international football after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
He however commended both players for their meritorious services to the Super Eagles.
While Mikel called it quit with the Super Eagles after the national team claimed the AFCON bronze medal following Ighalo’s solitary winner in the third place match on Wednesday, Ighalo amidst wide speculations formally announced his retirement on Friday after what he described as ‘an amazing five-year journey.’
But speaking on the developments, Rohr said both players did exceptionally well during their spells with the Super Eagles:
“I think the retirement of both players means at first to recognise all what they have done for Nigerian football; Ighalo’s decision is very hard because he brought us with his goals to AFCON and bronze medal giving a good answer to all the critics.”
The team media officer, Toyin Ibitoye, said the retirement of the duo has presented fresh challenges to the coaching crew, noting Mikel and Ighalo would be sorely missed within the rank and file of the national team.
“We will definitely miss both of them but that is just the reality of life; there is a time to start and a time to stop,” Ibitoye waxed philosophically.
“The coaches now have their jobs cut out to fill the void left by these players with talents of almost same quality. It will not be easy but it is not also impossible.”
Ibitoye further praised Ighalo for overcoming initial fears to be crowned as the 2019 AFCON Golden Boot winner after his five goals helped the Super Eagles to win the bronze medal.
He said: “I am happy for Ighalo; his hard work has paid off. Hampered by hamstring worries at the start of the tournament and at the end, he still emerged as the top scorer. The Super Eagles will miss his power play.”
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