Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has expressed gratitude to God as he clocks 33 today.
On Thursday, the Nigerian international took to his took to his Instagram page to share photos of himself captioned his post, “+1🎂🙏🏾”.
Ighalo made his debut for the Nigeria national team in March 2015 against Uganda.
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He represented the nation at the 2018 World Cup and was the highest goalscorer in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign.
He eventually led Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where he finished in the competition’s Team of the Tournament and was crowned top scorer.
Ighalo and his wife, Sonia got married in 2009 and their union is blessed with three children – two sons and one daughter.
He was on June 22, 2021, unveiled as an Ambassador of the National Principal’s Cup in Abuja by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOSS…
We will be NEEDING your SERVICES in IVORY COAST to PAIR with OSIGOAL.
Please stay FIT and INJURY FREE..
Go invite… you think say this is Groundnut’s regime
CHINENYE how va na?
WHERE have you been?
Na wa o…the SACK of GENERAL ROAH has made you so SCARCE..
Don’t WORRY I UNDERSTAND..
I KNOW you MISS HIM (ROAH) even though you will never ADMIT..
*10 Strikers Looking To Impress Peseiro Next Season*
Jose Peseiro, who took charge of the Super Eagles in May, has already started making his mark in the national team with just 4 games under his tutelage.
A self-confessed proponent of attacking football, minnows São Tomé and Príncipe took the brunt of Peseiro’s ruthless philosophy as the Super Eagles hammered 10 past the hapless Islanders in June’s Afcon qualifiers.
Meaning, in 4 games, the Super Eagles have scored 13 goals while conceding just 4, a foretaste of what Super Eagles fans expect would usher the team into an era of goals galore in games to come.
And do you blame us Nigeria fans?
With deadly strikers and wingers like Lookman, Simon, Iheanacho, Osimhen, Umar and Dessers – all established and reputable sharpshooters in top European leagues – the possibilities are truly tantalising.
What is even more remarkable is that aside the usual suspects, there are several other decent and potentially deadly forwards who will relish the opportunity to charm their way back into the hearts of Super Eagles fans if given the chance.
I now look at 10 of these below.
1, Orji Okonkwo (Cittadella) : a former teammate of Osimhen in the victorious 2015 Under-17 Golden Eaglets, Okonkwo banged in 7 goals and 2 assists in Serie B last season. Predominantly a right winger, the 24 year old can also play left wing or centre forward roles.
Orji has never featured for the Super Eagles. But if he continues to be proficient in front of goal in Italy, his chance might come.
2, Funsho Bamgboye (Fehervar) : another former colleague of Osimhen in Under-17 football, Funsho continues to have a steady career in the Hungarian Premier League. A dashing winger who plays with flair at times, the 24 year old remains more productive on the flanks.
With only 1 league goal last season and the Hungarian Premier League not being the most attractive, Funsho will need more goals to make a credible case for himself to be invited to the Super Eagles.
3, Josh Maja (Stoke City) : since replacing Victor Osimhen in Nigeria’s 2:2 draw against Ukraine in 2019, the 23 year old centre forward has been in international wilderness.
He has also been shuttling between France and England for his club football where the goals haven’t particularly graced his boots. Now in Stoke City in the English Championship, headline grabbing performances next season should put him in the fray for Super Eagles invitation.
5, Isaac Success (Udinese) : it has been 4 years since the 26 year old bulky centre forward last represented Nigeria. Much was expected of Isaac but indiscipline, injuries and questionable work ethics have blighted what was once a hugely promising career.
Mercifully, he found his form in Udinese last season by providing 7 assists with just 2 goals. Critics say he should be scoring more goals. I say his assists records should be enough to warrant Super Eagles invitation if he keeps up last season’s remarkable numbers. We need selfless strikers in the Super Eagles.
6, Chuba Akpom (PAOK Salonika) : with next to no chance of ever playing for England’s Three Lions, Akpom jumped ship to Nigeria’s Super Eagles in 2019.
But his Super Eagles career is yet to leave the docks.
Poor returns in front of goal in club football and a plethora of exciting attacking options for the Super Eagles mean very few – if any – Super Eagles fans root for the 26 year old striker.
However, the predominantly centre forward Akpom remains an option open to the Super Eagles if his fortunes in front of goal in club football improve next season.
7, Marcus Abraham (Porto B) : it came as a shock to most Nigeria fans when Abraham moved to a rather random club in Poland called Radomiak Radom last season. He featured for the Super Eagles against Cameroon in friendlies last year where he won critical acclaim for his cool-head wing play.
Now back in the Portuguese season division, the 22 year old, who can also play in attacking midfield or centre forward, might just be able to charm his way back into Super Eagles reckoning.
8, Yira Sor (Slavia Prague) : this 21 year old winger remains a wildcard in international football despite his heroics for Slavia Prague in the Europa Conference League last season. The 6 goals in 6 games he produced in that competition have led to premature comparisons with Samuel Chukwueze and deafening calls in some quarters for his Super Eagles consideration.
Still, some fans warn that Sor might yet prove to be a flash in the pan. For others, if he continues on a growth trajectory next season, he would have earned a Super Eagles invite.
9, Samuel Kalu (Watford) : once a mainstay of the Super Eagles wings, the Abia born speedster now stands in the periphery of the national team. Still a fan favourite, many are praying that Kalu will stay healthy enough to reignite his once tinderbox Super Eagles career.
Should he endure a prolonged and prolific season in the English Championship, then Super Eagles recall should be just round the corner.
10, Anayo Iwuala (Esperance): the once posterboy of NPFL representation in the Super Eagles, Anayo cashed in on his Super Eagles status to swap the Nigerian league for the Tunisian top flight. This step up in quality of the league effectively served as the death nail on his Super Eagles prospects.
Now no longer ‘homebased’, playing in Tunisia does not provide ‘continued justification’ for his Super Eagles invitation.
However, should the 24 year old winger paint the Tunisian league green with goals next season, who knows, Peseiro might yet extend a shock invitation to him.
Extra: Happy Birthday To Ighalo. Though not a fan-favourite, should Ighalo elect to make himself available to the Super Eagles for just 12 more months, I have no problems with his invitation if he continues to score consistently in Saudi Arabia.
Congratulations Odion. Ighalo, you have done more than enough in your short life (33) more than what you expected initially when you started your footballing career in your early days. Odion, your lucky mum is supremely proud of you for what you have achieved both for yourself, your immediate family and the Naton. Today your good name invokes some mix feelings among some critical Nigerians, but on the whole, your admirals derives immeasurable joy for your career. you have done your part very well. Celebrate it. Happy birthday my fellow Edoman.