Our main man in Alexandria, Egypt, KOLA DANIEL, chats up Super Eagles star striker Odion Ighalo on the 2019 AFCON, goals as well as his career thus far.
SCORENIGERIA: Odion good day!
IGHALO: Good day too.
SCORENIGERIA: Good to know that you came out with a bang again in the first match against Burundi, you continued where you stopped in the qualifier, what is your take?
Yes, honestly I am happy for the goal, but the most important thing is the victory because we were aiming for three points in the first game and getting that victory gave us the boost heading into the second game. I am really happy for the three points and that is very good for us.
SCORENIGERIA: Going by your track record right from Julius Berger, you left the country to play in the Norwegian league, then to the Spanish league and followed by the Premier League. What has been the inate secret to your goals?
Just hard work. You know I am a striker, I just keep learning and working hard everyday, keep giving my best.
Sometimes the goals won’t come, but the most important thing is to keep giving your best. The same way I was working when the goal was not coming is the same way I was working when the goal was coming, so I just have to keep focus because sometimes in life you go through dry spell and that does not mean you don’t know what you are doing or you don’t work hard.
You just have to continue giving your best, that’s what I do and I don’t let negativity bring me down.
I just keep focus and keep doing what I know how to do best.
SCORENIGERIA: Talking about that negativity, when the goal was not coming at the World Cup one might be thinking that could weigh you down, but you proved the critics wrong with seven goals in the qualifiers, how did you manage that? Knowing that a lot of fans came for your head
(Laughs) I have been playing professional football for 13-14 years, so I am used to critics, but this is my job, I don’t have any other job apart from football, I am used to it, when you criticise me, it gives me more zeal to work hard, so I don’t let it weigh me down, I just keep going, keep giving my best because I know what I can do when the opportunity comes again.
So, I just went back to my club and started working hard and when the opportunity came I just took it. That is it.
SCORENIGERIA: We have had close contests against both the Burundians and Guineans, when on paper thye were suppose to be easy games. Don’t you think the tournament is going to spring up surprises much later?
Yes, there will be surprises because football now, especially African football, there is no small team again, there is no team like push-over, everybody has to work hard, you can’t go in the field of play without working hard and giving your best and expect to win a game.
The last two games have shown us that there is no small team in Africa, you have to work hard, you have to push, you have to break your ground before you win a game, so we have seen it and we are not going to take that lightly any more, we have to take every game from now like we are playing the final, like we are playing a tougher game and that will give us the edge against our opponents.*
Thank you so much Odion Jude Ighalo.
Thank you too.