Now-Changchun Yatai striker, Odion Ighalo, spoke about playing in the Premier League with Watford and his Christian faith.
Odion, what made you sign for Watford?
Before I joined on loan, I had been following the team for about two years when the Pozzo family took over. I thought it was a good team who could gain promotion to the Premier League. With me joining them, I felt I could help the team and fight together as one to get promoted. My aim was not to come and play Championship football, it was to come and help the team get promoted to the Premier League which I am very happy we have done.
You’ve already shown your goal-scoring capabilities, what’s it like to score in the one of the best leagues in the world?
It’s a great feeling for me, it’s a great moment because as a striker you want to score goals and of course you want to score in the Premier League. I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to score in the Championship and now I am grateful to him I can score in the Premier League. But, you know, I’m not going to get carried away with it, I just want to glorify God, I want to keep pushing and working hard everyday to help my team win and score goals.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 27, 2015
Do you set yourself targets as a striker?
I never really try to set a target as it then puts a lot of pressure on me. I just keep working and the most important thing is to be a team-player; when the team wins a game, I am happy. If I score, then thanks to God, but if I don’t, then I move on to the next game, working hard for the team.
How did you come to faith?
I was born in a Christian background in Nigeria. As a Christian, I believe in God and I have seen him do wonders in my life in many ways on many occasions. Any time I get on my knees and pray to God, I see a difference. Everything I have, everything I have achieved today is because of the grace of God. I made a vow that every glory be given back to God in my life. As someone who believes in God I know I am not perfect, but I do acknowledge that there is somebody out there who is keeping me going when I cry out to him.
Why not watch our interview with Colchester United midfielder, George Moncur?
On your twitter page – your bio says, ‘My God is Able’ – tell us what this means?
It means my God is able to do all things. There is nothing that God cannot do. So, I say, “my God is able, able to do all things”, he created the heavens and the earth, he created the universe, he created the world we are in today so there is nothing impossible for God. So that’s what it’s short for – my God is able!
What does your faith mean to you?
It means a lot to me. Not just on the pitch, but in my life, everything I do. I have God first. I can’t go out of the house in the morning without praying, thanking God for a new day. Some people cannot walk, some people cannot see or go out, so everyday I wake up I thank God for a new opportunity. I also do a special prayer before a game too, so my life is all about God and praying to him and thanking him. I’m trying to do my best, I read my Bible too, I’m not perfect but I try and live my life for God.
What is it like to be a Christian in football?
Being a Christian in football for me is normal. I have a few other Christian team-mates like Heurelho Gomes, he’s a good Christian. Also, Ikechi Anya and Troy Deeney too. But you know, I believe in God, I don’t care what anybody else says about it, I don’t care if people criticise me; I believe in my God. Everything I have, is God. Everything I have done, is God. So I don’t really mind what other people say.
Who is the best player you have every played with?
I’ve played with some great players! I’ve played with Antonio Di Natalie, he’s such a great player and a legend and I respect him a lot. I’ve played with Alexis Sanchez too. I’ve had the privileged to play with some great players and there are lots of fantastic ones in Watford too.
What does the future hold for Odion Ighalo?
Only God knows what the future holds! I just wake up each day and thank God for what he has done. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that God is good and he knows my future.