What is always apparent when watching Odion Ighalo in action, that strikes you apart from his power and pace is the confidence with which he plays. “Everything I have achieved and hope to achieve in the future I owe to the Almighty God” says the Watford and Nigeria striker. “I am a Christian and I believe in God and how He orders my footsteps”. This explains why after each goal he kneels down fingers pointing heavenward in thanksgiving.
Ighalo spoke exclusively with supersport.com at the London Colney training headquarters of the newly promoted Premier League club Watford. “I have played in the Italian and Spanish leagues but I feel that the football in England is so much more entertaining even if more physical”. The move to England came from Granada in La Liga. The Spanish club who just last week named one of their Gates after their former Nigerian striker “it was not easy for me to leave Granada because I was loved by all there having spent nearly 5 seasons”. Ighalo seems to have found the same support at Watford “since the first day I arrived here I have been made to feel at home and the fans love me and support the club fully during tough matches.”
Ighalo’s love for Watford was severely tested in the close season it appears. What was that all about then? “A club from China came in for me” the 26 year old says “they offered Watford £10m for my services and then a personal offer of £2.5m per year for 4 years”. Ighalo still sounds stunned by the offer “I looked at the contract they offered and the money involved and I am ‘are these people serious?’; I slept on it but decided not to accept it”. Err Odion, that’s good money son.. “I believed that at this time in my career going to play in China was not attractive; besides I have unfinished business at this wonderful club that is Watford. I want to help the club get established in the premier league which is why I have signed this new 5 year contract last week”
With 2 premier league goals already this season after 5 matches Ighalo has continued where he stopped from the promotion season where he scored 20 goals. Opening day at Goodison Park Vs Everton John Stones is left sprawling on the deck as Ighalo scored. How about that? With shy laughter “sitting on the bench I was desperate to get on so when I eventually did and that ball fell to me – people who know me know I never shoot from that distance so I did my thing and scored”. How did it feel? “Great. Absolutely great. What I had been praying about all summer and it happened and all thanks to God”.
The winner last time out against Swansea gave Watford their first win at home but his strike partner, captain Troy Deeney is yet to score “Troy is a very good finisher and will surely score his share. However, he is more than that to me and the other players. He is a motivator. He helps us a lot and is a proper captain. Troy also bears the brunt of the physical buffeting so I feed off him in matches. It does not bother him that he has not scored yet because he will score”
The confidence he exudes on the pitch he also has off it. So what will be a good season for Watford? “for me I want to finish first”. Excuse me? Now laughing loudly he answers “yes I really mean it but seriously the aim is to stay in the Premier League for this and many more seasons. It won’t be easy but we are ready for the challenge”.
One thing Watford fans can count on is that this is one player who – along with his Faith – will give his all for the club this season.