Ighalo set to return on Saturday

Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo has made a remarkably quick return from the hamstring injury he sustained in the Chinese Super League about two weeks ago.

In fact, with all things being equal the former Udinese forward could be fielded as early as Saturday in his club, Shanghai Shenhua’s game against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan FC.

This came as a boost to the camp of the Nigerian senior football side after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer, resumed full training with his Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua ahead of the start of preparations for the tournament in Egypt from June 19 to July 21.

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It is was last than three weeks that the former Watford striker last featured in a competitive game for Shanghai Shenhua, having suffered a hamstring injury in the 12th minute of his side’s 1-1 draw at Tianjin Teda.

Ighalo’s recovery process and rehabilitation went according to plan and he trained fully with the rest of his teammates on Thursday.

Before he was sidelined by his recurring hamstring injury, the Nigerian was manager Quique S├ínchez Flores’ first choice striker and he could even make it into the squad for Saturday’s meeting against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan FC.

Nigerians became apprehensive after Ighalo lasted just 12 minutes on the pitch and had to be replaced in Shanghai Shenhua’ 1-1 draw against a former club of John Mikel Obi, Tianjin Teda.

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There were fears that the Super Eagles deadliest striker may miss Africa’s flagship tournament but surprisingly, the attacker spent just two weeks on the sideline instead of the expected three weeks given by his club’s medical crew.

With this development, Ighalo’s participation in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is now right on course as he has even recovered faster than his initial June 1 return date.

Ighalo missed the league games against Shandong Luneng and Dalian Yifang which his team lost.

The ex-Watford striker has scored seven goals in the highly lucrative Chinese Super League before his latest injury setback.

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The 29-year-old is expected to jet out to Nigeria after his club’s league match Chongqing Dangdai Lifan on Saturday.

Nigeria begins their first phase of preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a training camp in Asaba, Delta State on June 1 and Ighalo has been named in the 25-man list released by Franco-German coach, Gernot Rohr.

The Super Eagles are expected to play another AFCON bound team, the Warriors of Zimbabwe in a friendly in Asaba before departing for Ismailia, Egypt with the final 23-man squad.

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The Nigerian side will open a training camp in Ismailia for one week before travelling to Alexandria venue of their group matches.

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