Saturday , 8 May 2021
Home > Guest Column > Odion Ighalo – deadly striker with a heart of gold
Ighalo celebrates scoring for Watford

Odion Ighalo – deadly striker with a heart of gold

Odion Ighalo, the Nigeria and Watford striker, has set the English Premier League alight this season. He also scored last week for Nigeria in a 3-0 friendly win over Cameroon. He aims his shooting boots against Arsenal this evening.

This article is from the Daily Mirror.

Watford’s Odion Ighalo discusses his heart of Gold and hopes of reuniting with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez

16 OCT 2015

The Hornets fans dedicated a song to him to the tune of Spandau Ballet’s 1983 hit which he says brings him joy and gives him the ”incentive to fight for them”

Odion Ighalo has a heart of Gold – and he wants Spandau Ballet to lead a recital of the hit Watford fans have adopted as his anthem.

Every month, devout Christian Ighalo sends a chunk of his wages home to ­charitable causes in Nigeria to help kids, schools and widows below the poverty line.

And every week, Hornets fans belt out their acclaim for their top scorer to the tune of Spandau Ballet’s 1983 single Gold, which reached No.2 in the charts.

Now Ighalo wants the band’s Gary Kemp, who wrote the song, and his brother Martin – who lives only 10 minutes from Vicarage Road in Rickmansworth – to lead Watford fans in a communal performance of the hit.

The Kemp brothers both acknowledged travelling Hornets’ fans noisy rendition of ‘Gold’ at Newcastle on Twitter last month after matchwinner Ighalo’s two goals at St James’ Park.

Ighalo, who faces Arsenal on Saturday in the teatime kick-off, said: “It would be great for them to come to a home game and conduct the fans. I don’t know them but the first time I heard the song, I was so proud.

Listen to the chant:

“Every time I hear the fans sing ‘Always believe in your soul’ it brings me joy because it means they are with me and it gives me the incentive to fight for them.

“I did not know this song before I came to England, but after the first time I heard the fans singing it, I went straight home and looked it up.

“Now all my friends sing it and when I score even my family back home can hear them. Every time!”

Ighalo, 26, has become one of the Premier League’s hottest properties since he turned down “crazy money” to join Hebei China Fortune in the summer.

Instead of banking a king’s ransom every week, the most prolific striker in all four divisions in 2015 is giving away part of his wages to deserving causes back home in Africa.

He said: “My family are No.1 – every month I send money back home to them, but I also send donations to the less privileged because I come from poverty.

“I send money to kids, to schools, and I’m taking care of around 45 widows, women who have no husbands, and I’m trying to start a charity organisation to give something back.

“I know what it is like to have nothing – now I’m OK for money, I only spend what I have and don’t live beyond my limits.”

Ighalo is looking forward to crossing paths with an old team-mate, Arsenal’s crown jewel Alexis Sanchez , if the Chilean is passed fit to play at Vicarage Road.

Reunion: Ighalo was at Udinese at the same time as Arsenal hitman Alexis Sanchez
Reunion: Ighalo was at Udinese at the same time as Arsenal hitman Alexis Sanchez

The pair were team-mates at Udinese in Italy and they swapped shirts when their careers took them to Spain – Ighalo at Granada and Sanchez at Barcelona.

“I’ve still got the shirts – I gave them to my brother,” said Ighalo. “It will be good to see Alexis again and we will swap shirts if it’s possible.

He’s a fantastic player and will cause us problems, but after the game we can be friends again.

“Even before he went to Barcelona, you could see he was going to be a top player. He always wanted the ball, you could seen his quality when he trained and I’m really happy he’s doing well.”

Download PDF

Check Also

Pandemic underscores flaws in Nigeria’s farming and food supply chains

15 April 2021 During the lockdown in Lagos, Nigeria, I joined a humanitarian team to …