With just one round of matches left in the Chinese Super League, Super Eagles’ and Changchun Yatai striker, Odion Jude Ighalo, says he has every reason to be thankful for his debut season despite his early struggles.
Ighalo, who spoke exclusively to AOIFootball.com after his team’s penultimate match on Sunday against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan which they won 3-1, admitted he has surpassed his expectations.
“I’m thankful for a successful season even with all the challenges I had in the beginning. I will say it was a great season.
“With all I have gone through this season, I wasn’t thinking of even getting to this level but all thanks to God,” Ighalo said.
The former Watford striker, who joined Changchun in a deal worth €23.3 million, scored two goals in his opening 12 games before hitting form to score 13 goals in the subsequent 15 games, admitted that it was a tough opening few months for him.
“To be honest, I was frustrated in my first three months in the Chinese league. I was playing well but the goals were not just coming for me and as a striker, if you don’t score your confidence will be low.
“But I am a very optimistic and prayerful person and I knew it was just a setback that I could overcome and I thank God I was able to pick-up and lead my team out of the relegation zone,” Ighalo added.
When quizzed on the Super Eagles’ friendly against Argentina, the striker said it will be a very good game between two countries that know how to play each other.
“It’s a big game and a high profile friendly and that’s what we need for now to prepare for the World Cup; it’s going to be a good test for us.
“For me, Nigeria and Argentina are no stranger to each other; both sides have met in four of the last World Cups and played some couple of friendlies together, so it will be a good game for us.
“Hopefully, I will be part of the squad for the game, as the Chinese League ends next week. So, I am fully available for the game against Algeria and Argentina, as we need to start building a formidable team ahead of the World Cup,” Ighalo concluded.
Ighalo has scored 15 league goals in 27 appearances for Changchun while also registering 4 assists to his name.