Exclusive: Kelechi Iheanacho’s dad says he’s made him proud

Manchester City's Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (L) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England, on January 30, 2016. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /

Shortly after emerging the most valuable player at the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup, Kelechi Iheanacho became the toast of several European clubs, as they engaged in a battle of wits to secure the services of the newest revelation in world football.

What should have been a blessing to him and his family, almost turned out to be ruinous dissonance, primarily between him and his father, James.

What was the issue? The young lad wanted a move to Porto in Portugal, one of the interested clubs in his services at the time, while his dad wanted a move to Manchester City. The desire of James Iheanacho for his son at the time was widely criticized, as it was believed he was being influenced by the sight of pounds sterling at the Etihad, rather than the boy’s career development and progress.

Fast-forward to February 2016, and Iheanacho Snr. is saying his position has been vindicated by his son’s impressive start to his first full season with the City first team, which has resulted in him winning his first trophy for the club – the Capital One Cup.

“I am happy and glad that God is doing everything for me and proving me right,” he told fcnaija in an exclusive interview.

“When the referee blew the final whistle (in the Cup final), I was jubilating and I remembered what happened a few years ago.

“When I insisted that he should join Manchester City, so many people, especially Nigerians misunderstood me.

“I said I wanted him to join the English club because I knew what God wanted to do in his life and now people can see what I saw in 2013.

“Now he is doing well and he has won the League Cup,” James Iheanacho said.

It has been a largely impressive season for the 19-year old attacker, who scored twice and made two assist to help City reach the League Cup final.

He has scored a further seven goals in both the Premier League and the FA Cup in 23 appearances, which has seen him mostly coming off the bench.

And speaking further, the senior Iheanacho says he is still expecting more from his son this season.

“I am still expecting more, and he is also expecting more and I know he can do it and continue to make me proud,” he added.