Nigerian and Watford of England striker, Odion Ighalo has revealed the difficulties he experienced in his early days, at a poverty-stricken ghetto in Lagos.
Ighalo, who grew up in the slump of Ajegunle, where gang violence was rampant, claimed he had to dodge bullets during training, adding that he even had to beg bus fares to watch football matches.
He told CNN: “At times, training was besieged by neighborhood crime.
“We had bad gangs going into the ghetto, taking marijuana and all that. I remember when we were training some people who stole would have to cross through the field and police were shooting guns.
“We had to run and bend down because a stray bullet can hit anybody. I was young then — I was so afraid that day.”
The 26-year old, who is now one of the hottest strikers in the English Premier League, has attributed his success to the love and encouragement he received form his mother.
The Super Eagles striker, has notched 14 goals in 26 league appearances for Watford this season.
“I have a Mum that supported me right from the beginning,” he continued.
“It was not easy coming up from there. You’re training on a mud ground and all that, sometimes you train barefoot.
“My mum bought me my first pair of football shoes — I can remember they were Copa Mondials. In Nigeria, you have to pay for water you drink, pay for transport to go training. You have to pay for everything.
“My mum afforded me what [she] could … sometimes it wasn’t enough to travel to play games outside the city. She supported me right from day one.
“Sometimes my Dad wanted to spank me when I went to play football, when I didn’t do my homework and all that, they would argue. My mum said, ‘You have to leave him if he wants to play football.'”
“The rest is history now,” he said.
The Watford sensation, who has been widely recognised for his ardent faith in God added: “Without God, I would be nothing.”