Born on June 16, 1989, Odion Jude Ighalo has blazed the trail into the global limelight as one of Nigeria’s most celebrated football internationals under 30. At the young age of 26, Ighalo is an aspiring footballer’s dream. Not a man of many words, in a chat with Ohimai Amaize, the Publisher of SIGNAL, the Watford striker says it all as he talks about football, growing up, family and life as he sees it in general. Excerpts:
I was born in Lagos on 16th June 1989. But my origin is from Edo State. It was really tough growing up but thanks to God for where I am today. Playing football was a normal thing in the neighborhood where I grew up. I grew up in Ajegunle. Frankly, I never thought I would get to where I am now. I grew up as a young footballer watching the likes of Kanu Nwankwo, Samson Siasia, Jay Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto’o, Andy Cole etc. They were like my role models and they inspired me to become a striker.
Good and bad times
The saddest moment of my life was when I got injured 2 years ago and did surgery. I thought I was not going to play football again. I was very sad. But thank God, I pulled through that phase. One of the best moments of my life was when I got double promotion with Granada to La Liga and Watford to Premier League and winning player of the month of December 2015.
How rich is Odion Ighalo?
I’m not rich but I’m blessed… Hahaha!
On career moves
One of my dreams is to play in the UEFA Champions League (UCL). I am still working towards it. As for transfers, after the season, we will see what God has in store for me but for now, it’s Watford all the way!
On recent rating of Super Eagles as world’s youngest team of 2015
I’m happy with the rating of the team as the world’s youngest football team of 2015. It’s a very good sign. It shows that the team has a great future ahead.
Relationship with God
Without God in my life I am nobody. It has always been God and I always return all the glory to Him.
When are the wedding bells ringing?
Wedding bells? Hahaha! I’ve been been married since 6 years ago with three kids but I just don’t bring my family out, especially on social media. Maybe that’s why people always think I’m single.
How he unwinds
I love watching movies and football matches on TV. I also love sleeping and spending time with my kids.
Will he let his kids play football?
Of course I will support my kids to play football because my mum supported me growing up and still supports me till date.
I’m not crazy about clothes but I always like to look good. Dolce & Gabbana and DSQUARED are my best fashion designers. I also love to spend on good accessories.
I don’t have a favorite footballer but I like Samuel Eto’o and many more.
The kind of songs you will catch him listening to
Most of the times you will find me listening to gospel songs. Then I’m a huge fan of Nigerian artistes. I love Naija songs.
How he felt the first time he played for the Super Eagles
It was a great feeling and a moment of fulfillment because that’s almost every footballer’s dream; to play for their country’s national team.
Expectations from government
I would like governments at all levels to work towards eradicating poverty and corruption in Nigeria.
One thing people don’t know about Odion Ighalo
Many people don’t know this. But the truth is, I have a deep love for God and humanity.
On the dress sense of Nigerian coaches
Well, I think it’s a matter of personality. We are different human beings and we have different sense of dressing. I respect everybody irrespective of what they are wearing.
What should upcoming footballers do?
They should keep working hard and pray because that’s the key to success. They should also believe in themselves.