BREAKING: Egypt's central bank dismisses CIB head Hisham Ezz El-Arab over 'serious violations'    Iran summons Swiss ambassador over US claim about electoral intervention    Heavy rain, lightning and thunder hit parts of Egypt Thursday    Egyptian authorities foil attempt to smuggle three artefacts from Alexandria port    New fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh dims hopes before Washington talks    Egypt's health minister calls for adherence to Covid-19 measures in anticipation of rise in infections    Egypt drop one spot in FIFA's October rankings    Liverpool's Klopp pleased with Fabinho's display in defence    Social media must do more to combat online abuse, says Sterling    Egypt reports 178 new coronavirus cases, 13 fatalities on Wednesday    In Photos: Visitors observe biannual sun alignment at Ramses II Temple in Abu Simbel    Lebanon begins consultations to pick new prime minister    'EU wants successful outcomes' of GERD negotiations: European ambassador to Egypt    Release of trailer for film Mafkoud: On the fate of those who went missing during the Lebanese civil war    Candidates poised for election marathon    Surviving the economic damage    Egypt's Sisi attends graduation ceremony of armed forces cadets at the Military Academy    Egypt's Mahmoud Mohiedin elected as IMF executive director, board member    Egyptian insurance companies' premiums 9.6% up in five months    Egypt's President Sisi names new head of anti-corruption watchdog    Egypt's offers 18 bln pounds T-bills on Sunday    EgyptAir offering discounts for some international flights    Egypt records 212 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Saturday    Egypt to require PCR coronavirus tests for airport travelers    Egypt sends 125 tonnes of glass by sea to Beirut    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    Global smartphone sales drop 20% in Q2, yet Apple's iPhone sales steady    Sisi: Egypt keen on establishing development projects with Iraq, Jordan    Egyptian megastar Amr Diab releases new hit music video    Making of Harry Potter will be available for fans at new park in Tokyo    Egypt's Senate elections official results to be announced Wednesday    Netflix Egypt is bringing megastar Amr Diab back with a new original    Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing for first time since April    Egypt's senate elections 2020 trending on social media in few days    African Champions League final will be played on Oct. 16-17, CAF says    No room to delay Egyptian Premier League games – EFA's board member    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Ighalo takes roundabout route to Nations Cup success
Published in Ahram Online on 08 - 07 - 2019

Fondly remembered at Granada and Watford, Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo has finally won over fans of his own national team with his goals at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) -- but it has been a long and bumpy road to achieve their recognition.
On the way, Ighalo has endured loan spells, suffered relegation in China, received death threats for failing to score at the World Cup and turned down a move Barcelona.
In between all that, he became a cult hero at English league club Watford with fans inventing a song about him, sung to the tune of Spandau Ballet's "Gold".
Ighalo enjoyed his finest moment for Nigeria on Saturday when he scored twice and set up another goal in the 3-2 win over bitter rivals Cameroon which took the Super Eagles into the AFCON quarter-finals.
That took his tally to three, making him the tournament's joint top-scorer alongside Senegal's Sadio Mane and Adam Ounas of Algeria.
Yet, barely a year ago, Ighalo had considered quitting the side. The 30-year-old was made a scapegoat for Nigeria's group stage elimination at the World Cup after missing chances in their 2-1 defeat by Argentina -- and he received death threats.
"They said a lot of things. To my innocent kids, to my wife, even to the extent they threatened my life and the life of my family," he told ESPN.
He said that only encouraging words from Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr persuaded him to continue -- and Ighalo responded with seven goals in the AFCON qualifiers.
Raised in the tough and sprawling Lagos neighbourhood of Ajegunle, famous for producing soccer players and musicians, Ighalo began his career with local sides Julius Berger and Prime.
His first stop in Europe was Norwegian side Lyn followed by a prized move to Serie A's Udinese -- but it turned sour as he made only five appearances and scored one goal in his first season.
He was loaned to Granada in the Spanish third tier, helped them win promotion but then returned to Udinese who loaned him to Cesena where he made four only appearances.
After that, it was back Granada on loan where he helped them win promotion again and he spent three seasons in La Liga.
Udinese sold him to Watford, who were in the Championship at the time, and he contributed to another promotion with 20 goals in the campaign.
The next season was arguably the finest of his career, as he scored 15 goals in the Premier League, helping him win a Nigeria callup.
But Ighalo could not keep it up and after managing one goal the following season, he was sold to China's Changchun Yataix.
Last year, he was joint top scorer in the Chinese League with 21 goals but it was bittersweet as his side were relegated. Curiously, he was then offered a six-month loan at Barcelona as a backup to Luis Suarez --- but opted for China's Shanghai Shenua.
"It was .....strictly as a back-up striker," Ighalo explained. "It was nice to hear that Barcelona were interested and any footballer would be more than happy to take it."
"But with due respect I had just finished as the second top scorer in China with 21 goals, I deserve better and didn't want to be a short-term player somewhere."
It was the sort of attitude which has won over Rohr.
"I like him because of his professionalism," said the German after the Cameroon game. "His realism helps us so much and I hope that he will continue to score the goals."

Clic here to read the story from its source.