Though they are far away in Russia and getting set for a crunch match against Argentina, Super Eagles stars at the World Cup are abreast of issues back at home in Nigeria.
The players have lent their voices; calling for a stop to the killings in Plateau State.
Leading the call for peace and a stop to the killings is man-of-the-moment, Ahmed Musa, who started his professional football career in Jos with the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH).
Musa, hero of Nigeria’s 2-0 victory against Iceland last Friday, hails from Kano but lived most of his life in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
John Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi are also among the football stars that trace their humble beginnings to the Tin City.
Other Super Eagles players also joined Musa to call for an end to the killings on the Plateau following news on Monday that almost 100 were killed over the weekend in attacks by suspected herdsmen.
Defender Leon Balogun and midfielder John Ogu both tweeted pictures seeking prayers for Plateau.
Musa tweeted a photo with the hashtag #StopTheKillingsInPlateau while Ogu tweeted #PrayForPlateau They need our prayers.
Balogun’s hashtag #UnitedWeStandDividedWeFall was accompanied by the photo of a candlelight.
The Super Eagles spokesperson Toyin Ibitoye informed FCNaija.com that there are no plans to have the players wear any armbands to show solidarity with the victims of the crisis during Tuesday’s game Argentina.
It is understood that such requests are not made at short notices.
Nigeria face Argentina on Tuesday in St Petersburg and the players will hope that their performances can bring joy to a troubled nation.
— AhmedMusa718 (@Ahmedmusa718) June 25, 2018
#PrayForPlateau . They need our Prayers !!🙏🏼🙏🏼
— John Ogu (@ogujohnugo) June 25, 2018
— Leon Balogun (@LeonBalogun) June 25, 2018
Shenhua ‘Open’ To Man Utd Keeping Ighalo Until January
Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua are reportedly open to allowing Odion Ighalo to remain at Manchester United after it was revealed that Chinese Super League’s foreign players are banned from returning to China until October
As the border restrictions may prevent Ighalo from returning to his parent club Shanghai Shenhua, in time for the start of the new season in June, Shenhua are now willing to allow Odion Ighalo remain at Manchester United until January, according to Sky Sport.
This comes days after Ighalo’s agent Ladi Salami confirmed that an extension is close to being agreed between Manchester United, Shanghai Shenhua and Odion Ighalo.
Ladi Salami told FootMercato: “On the one hand, the Super Eagle [Nigerian] feels very good in Manchester with which it is very close to a salary agreement.
“Negotiations with the Chinese are ongoing and are going well.”
”On the other hand, in view of the latest regulations in force in the Middle Empire, it is almost impossible to offer such amounts.’
Since signing for Manchester United on a short-term loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua back in January, the Nigerian International has made a valuable contribution, scoring four times in just three starts.
Shenhua Offers Odion Ighalo N180m-A-Week Contract
Shanghai Shenhua has reportedly offered Odion Ighalo a new deal worth around £360,000-a-week (N180m) amid interest from Newcastle United.
According to The Times, Ighalo is set for a return to China. His Manchester United loan deal ends in six days, which was the agreed length when the Red Devils signed him in January.
Of course, things have changed since then. The global pandemic means that Ighalo hasn’t been able to see out the season at Old Trafford, as was initially intended.
Ighalo wants to stay at United, but talks between the two clubs have allegedly stalled. It now looks like the striker will be heading back to China on Sunday.
In order to try and keep Ighalo happy long-term, Shanghai Shenhua have allegedly offered him a new deal. Ighalo would be earning £75million over four years if he accepts, which is around £360,000-a-week.
Ighalo’s desire to stay in England may be a problem though. He’s a boyhood United fan, and fans have taken to him quickly despite initial bemusement at his arrival in January.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports recently claimed that Newcastle want him. Their huge takeover could go through soon, providing them with major backing in the transfer market.
Newcastle may be able to rival Shanghai Shenhua’s riches, but whether that is a good idea is another matter.
Ighalo turns 31 this summer and played just 61 minutes of Premier League action before the pandemic hit, so paying such huge money for the ex-Watford man would be a big risk.
Odion Ighalo Set To Leave Manchester United This Week
Odion Ighalo looks set to leave Manchester United at the end of his loan spell this week, with parent club Shanghai Shenhua keen to have the striker back ahead of the start of the Chinese Super League season.
Ighalo has been a hit at Old Trafford since signing a loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window, scoring four times for his boyhood club.
But his loan spell looks set to end after eight appearances, with his initial deal only penned until May 31. United’s season will now extend well beyond that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused a suspension to the campaign, with United not playing since their 5-0 demolition of LASK Linz on March 12.
United still have nine Premier League games to play and remain in the Europa League and the FA Cup. They are keen to keep Ighalo until the end of this season and have held discussions with Shanghai Shenhua about extending the loan deal.
However, the Chinese authorities are now hopeful of beginning the Chinese Super League season in late June or early July, and as a result his club are keen to have the 30-year-old striker back in the fold.
The initial loan came at a time when the CSL season was yet to begin and China was the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country is now reporting far fewer cases and there is confidence the 2020 campaign could get underway within the next six weeks.
Ighalo has been keen to remain at Old Trafford. He has made no secret of his love for the club and has relished every minute of his unexpected move to United.
Ighalo was signed on deadline day as United’s frantic search for a striker in the wake of Marcus Rashford’s back injury came to an end. The Nigerian’s impact at the club he supported as a boy has far exceeded expectations, with goals in all of his starts for the club, but with Rashford now fit and available again United are relaxed about the prospect of losing Ighalo at the end of this week.
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