Nigeria’s very own Kelechi Iheanacho will not be forgotten in a hurry for his remarkable feats in international football as well as club football. He is well known for his appearances at English clubs; Manchester City and Leicester City, as well as his impeccable performances at Nigerian youth national teams.
Like some of his counterparts, Kelechi, fondly called ‘Kel’ has a childhood story that will inspire young aspiring footballers. He was not born with a silver spoon neither was he born into a privileged family, but Kel stayed true to his dreams and today, he is enjoying the dividends of his steadfastness. Here are lesser known facts about the renowned Nigerian footballer.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s Bio, Age
He was born on October 3, 1996, to his parents in Imo, Nigeria. Growing up he always showed huge interest in football. He would either sneak into or beg his way into viewing centers where people go to watch premier league matches. This was because although they had a TV set, the family could not afford pay TV subscriptions for international matches, which is the in-thing in his home country, Nigeria. From watching notable football stars, Kelechi wanted to be like them. Making his football dreams known to his father who so much advocated for education, was a very tough decision for Iheanacho. As expected, his father who strongly disagreed with the idea employed disciplinary measures to ensure his son upheld educational values at home. This measures included flogging him, forcing him to read his books among other things.
But as the saying goes: The heart wants what the heart wants. Kelechi Iheanacho resorted to sneaking out to play football and his life gradually tilted into the world of football when he was selected to represent his school in a football competition. His father was going to let him since the school was involved. With his father’s approval, he played and led the team to victory earning him widespread recognition in his state as well as the support of his father who was so proud of him.
Kelechi soon joined football club Taye Academy in Owerri, the capital of Imo. He started out with the national football competition in Abuja. Leading the team to many victories, he became the captain of the team and continued to excel. His first international football experience was at the 2013 African U-17 Championship in Morocco, where he scored a hat-trick. The 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup was another major highlight for the player. He had scored up to six times and was also awarded the “Golden Ball”. Iheanacho caught international attention through this feat, as he began getting calls from English clubs. He signed for Manchester City on January 10, 2014. This was after he signed a pre-contract agreement with the English club in 2012 to join when he turned 18. He had a very good goal conversion rate while at Man City with one of the best minute-to-goal ratio.
In August 2017, he joined Leicester City on a five-year contract for a fee of £25 million.
Net Worth, Salary, House, Car
Kelechi Iheanacho surely deserves all the financial goodies he has been getting in the course of his career. The very skillful player is said to be earning £85,000 per week as his salary, contributing a great deal to his gigantic net worth of over $2 million. His salary in the Nigerian naira has been calculated to be over N35 million. This indeed makes Iheanacho one of the highest paid footballers in Nigeria. Before his move to Manchester City, his father was paid £300,000 based on the agreement with the club.
As for how Kelechi Iheanacho spends his money, the footballer owns a beautiful mansion of his own as well as cars. The player reportedly bought a mansion in Lagos worth over £1.5 million. He has purchased a BMW-I8 which costs approximately £200,000. He has not left out his family and friends. The renowned player is said to have built houses for some of his friends who are not as fortunate as him.
Family, Personal Life, Other Facts
It was a grass to grace success story for Kelechi Iheanacho and his family. Simply put, Kel’s football career brought forth a new dawn and changed the poverty condition of his family. A family who could not afford high pay TV subscriptions to watch the Premier League and other international league matches, ended up becoming an influential one in the neighborhood, the state, and the country. His father who after long squabbles with his son over his career, gave his support, now enjoys a very comfortable life.
Kelechi Ihenacho’s manager is his father Elder James Iheanacho, a building materials trader. He was the one who initially, was against his son’s career as a result of the stereotype attached to local football hopefuls. But today he makes professional decisions for the player and discusses his deals. Elder James who was initially on the average level in his business, has not left the business but has rather grown it through his influence.
Kelechi lost his beloved mother to an unknown illness when he was 14. This was during the period of the African U-17 Championship.
He is said to be in a relationship but he has not gone public with it. The player is said to be quite personal about his private life, although this has not discouraged the inquisitive media from sniffing for information.