From the streets of Nigeria’s slums to the admiration of football fans, the story of Ighalo is truly a grass to grace classic.
Odion Jude Ighalo is a true role model and inspiration to all aspiring football professionals. Raised in the slums of Ajegunle, Lagos, a place notorious for gang violence and abject poverty, Ighalo survived stray shooting while playing football. Today, it’s a grass to grace story as he enjoys the admiration of millions of football fans all over the world.
Born 16 June 1989, Ighalo is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Watford Football Club of England and the Nigerian national team as a striker. His impressive outing for Watford in the prestigious English Premier League has put Ighalo on the wanted list of top European clubs. Arsenal, Chelsea and others have been reported to in be the race for the Nigerian striker’s signature.
The road to prominence for Ighalo has been far from smooth as he has endured challenges and struggles in his early football adventures in Europe. Leaving Lagos Club Julius Berger in 2007, the 6feet 2inches striker set foot in Norway with Lyn Oslo. He had stints in Italy and Spain with Udinese, Cesena and Granada before landing his current deal with Watford in July 2014.
He was instrumental in Watford’s recent success – their promotion to the English Premier League and survival in 2015/2016 season. Netting in a total of 15 goals in 37 Premier League appearances for the club, Ighalo is Watford’s record scorer in the competition.
His prolific form earned him a call to grace the colours of the Nigerian national team in March 2015, and it was a ‘dream come true’ for the excited young lad from the streets of Ajegunle.
Odion still connects with his roots. He is well known to be a devout Christian and he contributes a portion of his wages for charity work to help widows and schools.
Ighalo is truly a role model for aspiring footballers. His hard work, perseverance and never-say-die attitude have been key for his continued success.
Turf season is searching for the likes of Ighalo. Young, relentless and courageous. Are you the next Nigerian football star? If you have got what it takes: the skills, character and determination, sign up for our selection camps in Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu, Delta, Lagos and Port-Harcourt and stand a chance to play in Europe with Turf Season.