By Alphonsus N. Effi
Odion Jude Ighalo is a talented footballer, who specialises in the striking department of the round leather game. He was born 16th June, 1989 to Mr. And Mrs. Ighalo who are natives of Benin in Edo State Nigeria, though born in Lagos, at a popular suburb in Lagos called Ajegunle and raised in Edo State. Creekvibes analytical team authoritatively reports.
This suburb called Ajegunle, a famous ghetto where lots of prominent footballers cum musicians were raised and developed as the likes of Alphonsus Akhahoun, Samson Siasia, Tarilla Okorowanto, Peter Nieketien, Jumbo Awala, Mathias Enebeli, Peter Udough (Goalkeeper) to mention but a few, all developed their football prowess at Ajegunle. Jude Odion Ighalo also started playing his childhood football at the Tolu Maracana Stadium, and the famous Navy Football playing ground, Ajegunle. Here the mock Nations Cup competition was frequently organised to boost the standard and moral of the game among the teaming foot-balling youths in the neighbourhood. A lot of them were discovered by “SCOUTS” who enlisted them to prominent football clubs, home and abroad.
Jude Ighalo was discovered, his very first professional football career started with Julius Berger Football Club (Adewale Bridge Boys), in Nigeria. Here he was discovered by FIFA agent Marcelo Houseman who recommended him to Atta Aneke, being subsequently taken on trial by Norway’s Lyn Oslo. The same club, that Nigeria’s skipper MIKEL OBI started his professional footballing career with at Norway. He made his debut on 16th September 2007 at the age of 18, scoring in a 2-0 home win against the VIKINGS. He scored six goals in 13 matches in his second year to help his team to the 7th position, and subsequently arose interest from other clubs in Norway.
On 30th July, 2008, Ighalo signed for an Italian Serie A team called UDINESE, where he agreed a five year contract he appeared rarely in Serie A, in his debut season, scoring against CALGLIARI in a 6-2 home routing in which four of his five league appearance came as a late substitute.
He was later loaned to Grananda in Summer 2009, as part of the partnership agreement between Udinese and the Spanish team Granada. He scored 17 times in his first year and five in the second, as both season ended in the promotion of Granada to top flight division in Spain. Subsequently, he was contracted on a brief loan spell with Cesena of Italy.
This glorious football journey man from Edo state continue his football strives to WATFORD football club of England. Here he joined WATFORD F.C on a seasoned long loan deal from Italian UDINESE, on 29th July 2014. he made his first appearance for WATFORD at the football league cup at STEVENAGE on 12th August, 2014 and scored his first goal in the championship against Brentford on 30th September 2014 by tucking the ball home after loosing a penalty kick saved by BRENTFORD’S Goalkeeper, David Button, in a 2-1 home win. Ighalo scored his premier league debut on 8th of August, 2015, replacing Jose Manuel Jurado 16 minute from time and putting the visitors ahead 2-1 in an eventual 2-2 draw away, against Everton Football Club for the season opener.
Creekvibes analytical team reports.
He netted twice in a 2-0 mauling of West Ham United on 31st October, 2015, reaching 7 goals for the season and becoming the highest club scorer in the competition after just 11 matches. On 20th December, 2015, Ighalo scored in a WATFORD victory for the fourth, consecutive time, netting a brace in a 3-0 win over LIVERPOOL. His five goal haul earned him December’s Premier League Player of The Month, while his manager FLORES QUIQUE SANCHEZ won equivalent award.
He broke a 99 minute personal scoring drought on 13th March, 2016, with a goal in a 2-1 win at holder ARSENAL in the quarter final of the F.A Cup, putting the HORNETS into last four for the first time in 9 years. On 12th August, 2016 he signed a new five year contract but, the following season, he scored just one league goal and did not find the net in any of his last 15 games.
As a result of Odion Jude Ighalo form and effort in the premier league with WATFORD F.C the newly appointed interim coach of the Super-Eagles Dan ‘the bull” Amokachi on the 24th of March, 2015 selected him into the Super-Eagles. This elated him (Ighalo) to echoe that “I feel good, because it is my dream to play for my country”. two days after, this exciting invitation to the national squad, his first cap playing for the ‘Super Eagles’ ended in a loss 0-1 to KRANES of Uganda. Though after loosing-out in representing Nigeria in the Olympic games at Brazil as one of the designated over-aged players, he was compensated and recalled on merit to represent Nigeria in the World Cup competition organised by FIFA in Russia.
At this competition, his performance was billed, with less outstanding standards especially, not being able to score at opportune times notably in the Match against CROATIA, where Nigeria lost by 2-0. in October as a result, he revealed that his family had received “Threats of death” after he failed to score at the competition. Any normal footballer would have as a result of this threats, retire from National assignments, but, with the patriotism in him, like-wise believing in himself to proof doubters wrong, made him to remain with the national team and contested in the qualifiers for the African Nations Cup in Egypt.
During this qualifying stage, he scored seven goals and became the highest goal scorer at this stage of the tournament. He went further to score six goals at the tournament proper in Egypt to become the highest goal scorer and eventually won the golden boot ornament.
This feat by Jude Ighalo, speaks volume of a Nigeria player from a very humble beginning of proving doubters wrong of his football abilities and patriotic sentiments for his beloved country despite all odds. We the Creekvibes analytical team are wishing this worthy ambassador of football from Edo state, Nigeria the best in his new footballing endeavors in “Chinese Super League” where he is plying his trade with firstly. Changchun Yatai for a reported £20million, where he came second in the scoring charts and presently on 14th February 2019, transferred to SHANGHAI GREENLAND SHENHUA after turning down a move to Barcelona, because according to him, he was not ready to go to any team at his prime to seat on the bench.
This shows the young-man is technically endowed to know the advantage of playing regularly in a team than becoming a “bench warmer” in any team. This could make a good-footballer rusty, and lack of match fitness, which is detrimental to a professional footballer’s career. This is very obvious from readily available facts of talented footballers who were victims of such wrong decision (choosing to remain in a big-club for the monies and not game time)
Suffice to enthuse at this juncture, that Odion Ighalo is not just a shrewd, talented footballer but a very devout Christian, who often dedicates part of his wages for charitable organisations to help impoverished children, schools and widows below poverty line. He has done this in virtually every part of the country, especially in Ajegunle (Tolu) area to be precise, where up till now, he is held as a “Cult Figure” for his charitable efforts.
Creekvibes analytical team authoritatively deposited.