Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho sent a message to Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr with his hat-trick for Leicester City on Sunday ahead of this month’s Afcon qualifiers.
It was his first Premier League hat-trick as Leicester pummelled hapless Sheffield United 5-0. In fact, the former Manchester City forward became only the second Super Eagles star to score a hat-trick in the EPL in a decade.
Peter Odemwingie scored three for West Bromwich Albion against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 12 February 2012.
The 24-year-old’s first goal was his third in successive Premier League games for the first time as he connected a Jamie Vardy cut-back to break the deadlock in the 39th minute.
Ayoze Perez scored Leicester’s second with a fine finish into Aaron Ramsdale bottom corner in the 64th minute.
Vardy once again turned provider for Iheanacho with another pass, before the Nigeria forward sealed his treble with a powerful shot down Ramsdale far corner from outside the box.
“I don’t know how to express this but I’m over the moon,” Iheanacho said in his post-match interview.
“I’ve been waiting for this day to come and I’ve been working very hard for this day. I’m really grateful to God, my teammates and the manager for helping me grow. I dedicate this hat-trick to all the mothers in the world; they should keep taking care of us.”
“I’m really happy I’m playing alongside Jamie. He always creates space for me. He makes it easy for me to play. He’s a joy to play with and hopefully, he keeps going till he’s 40.
“He is a team player, he helps everyone, even when he’s not scoring, he’s helping the team win. He gave me two assists. The goals will keep coming for him.
“It was the first win at home for a while and it’s a clean sheet as well, so we’re all really happy. “The gaffer made it clear when he came in that we needed to keep going. We’re getting very near to the top, hopefully we can finish near there.”
Iheanacho has now scored 10 goals across all competitions for the season and is enjoying a purple patch in form after a regular run of games, having scored in Leicester’s previous two matches against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley.
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By Mthokozisi Dube