Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) could be set for a major boost as former Al-Hilal forward and Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, has expressed his openness to playing in the league. Ighalo, who recently ended his contract with Saudi Arabian side Al Halila, has had a successful stint with the club, notching an impressive 43 goals and 7 assists in the 2022-23 season campaign.
Enyimba, the reigning NPFL champions, have reportedly expressed interest in securing Ighalo’s services as they seek to strengthen their squad for the upcoming season. However, Ighalo has stated that he would be willing to play in the Nigerian league for a period of 6 months to 1 year without a salary, on the condition that there is adequate security, good media coverage, and competent refereeing.
Ighalo began his professional career in Nigeria with Julius Berger in 2007 before moving to Europe, where he has played in various leagues, accumulating an impressive record of 218 goals and 38 assists in 467 appearances for his clubs. However, as he approaches the latter stages of his career, the Nigerian striker may be contemplating a return to his homeland.
In an interview on Elegbete TV, Ighalo stated, “If security is guaranteed, along with good media coverage and competent referees, I can play for 6 months or even a year without receiving a salary.” While no concrete information has emerged regarding Ighalo’s next destination, Nigerian football fans will be eagerly awaiting any developments regarding the potential homecoming of the esteemed striker.
Overall, Ighalo’s openness to playing in the NPFL is a positive development for Nigerian football. If adequate measures can be put in place to ensure the safety and security of players, and the league can attract more high-profile players like Ighalo, it could potentially lead to a resurgence of Nigerian football and help the country’s footballing talent reach its full potential.