AFS meets Odion Jude Ighalo
Odion Jude Ighalo scored two goals against Newcastle United to secure Watford all three points lifting them to 10th in the Premier League.
The brace last weekend means Ighalo has now scored 20 goals in 24 league games in 2015, more than any other player in the top-four leagues in England.
Jones Awuah spoke to Odion Jude Ighalo for Africa Football Shop TV.
Nicknamed the “chopped” man by his teammates for his renowned skill of faking to shoot, Ighalo’s determination to make his mark in the English Premier league started in Lagos, Nigeria.
“The journey wasn’t easy, I give God the glory for where I am today because it started back there in Lagos Ajegunle, a very poor city and it was difficult for a young player to go out from there. But I thank God I am where I am today, and I give all the Glory to God and I’m still aspiring to be higher than where I am today” Ighalo admitted speaking to Africa Football Shop TV.
Ighalo signed for Norwegian club Lyn Oslo in September 2007, a move which got him out of Lagos but also proved more difficult than he had anticipated.
“Leaving Nigeria and going to Norway, you know how Norway is cold, it was not easy but if you know what you’re looking for, you have to work hard and make sure you get it.”
The Nigerian international added “I can remember three or four players came there, they couldn’t make it because it was too cold, they said they wanted to go back, training outside in -23 degrees its not easy but I think God has been very good to me.”
In less than a year in Norway, Italian club Udinese signed Ighalo, but his failure to cement a place in the first team prompted a loan move to Spanish division two side Granada. This was where the striker began to make a name for himself as he helped Granada to gain back to back promotion to La Liga, and his dream soon became a reality. The 26-year old recalls playing against Barcelona.
“The feeling was great because when I was back in Lagos Nigeria, I was watching La Liga, watching great players and all that, and the first time we played against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, we were in the tunnel and I was standing next to the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol.
“So many things were going through my mind; these were the same people I was watching when I was in Lagos and now I’m playing against them. Who said dreams don’t come through? Who said you can’t achieve your dream if you work hard.”
Ighalo moved to Watford initially on loan in the summer of 2014 and following a series of impressive outings, the move was made permanent. In the 2014/15 season he scored 20 goals to help Watford gain promotion to the Premier League and Ighalo became an instant hero with the Hornets faithful.
Most teams who gain promotion to the top-flight happen to be the same teams tipped for relegation at the end of the season. Football writers and bookies have all predicted Watford to suffer the same fate and face relegated, however, Ighalo is optimistic and believes his team will be playing in the Premier League come next season.
“So many people wrote us off, even last season nobody gave us chance to gain promotion; you know men can propose but God dispose. I believe by the grace of God coming next season we will play in the premier league.” Ighalo affirmed to Africa Football Shop TV.
Watford have hit the ground running with a 4-4-2 formation which looks organised and disciplined. With four goals to his name in the Premier League so far, Ighalo was rewarded with a new five-year contract after interest from China and other Premier League teams during the summer transfer window. In signing the new deal, his commitment to the Hornets cause is undeniable but if he keeps scoring goals, the big European clubs will soon come knocking.