Kelechi Promise Iheanacho popularly known as Kelechi Iheanacho is a famous Nigerian professional football player, entrepreneur and a philanthropist, who currently plays as a forward striker for English Premier League club Leicester City and the Nigeria national team Super Eagles. He is currently one of the best and most creative players in Nigeria and also one of the most successful footballers in Africa. He was born on 3rd October 1996 in Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He is currently 21 years old. His current jersey number is 8.
Kelechi Iheanacho was born in Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. As a youth, he represented Taye Academy in Owerri, the capital city of Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. His outstanding performances for Nigeria in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup made top clubs in Europe to become interested in him. Some of the European clubs that were interested in him include Arsenal, Sporting Clube de Portugal and Porto.
In December 2012, Kelechi Iheanacho travelled to England to discuss a move to Manchester City. In October 2014, he signed a pre-contract agreement deal with Manchester City, stating his intent to formally sign for the club on his 18th birthday which happens to be on 3rd October 2014. In 2013, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) named Kelechi Iheanacho as the Most Promising Talent of the Year at the 2013 CAF Awards.
On 10th January 2014, Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City’s Academy. Before the beginning of the 2014-2015 seasons, Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City squad to visit the United States of America on a pre-season tour. While in the United States of America, he played and scored in the first match of the tour, which ended in a 4–1 victory against Sporting Kansas City. He also scored against AC Milan in a 5–1 victory. After the conclusion of the tour, Manchester City arranged for Kelechi Iheanacho to train with the Columbus Crew until mid-October.
Kelechi Iheanacho made his debut as a footballer at the under-19 level in a UEFA Youth League match against Schalke 04, but unfortunately, he sustained an injury after only 11 minutes to the game. After his recovery from injury, he began to represent Manchester City at both youth and under-21 level in the latter part of the season.
Kelechi Iheanacho played in the FA Youth Cup final, where he scored a goal, but unfortunately ended on the losing side after Chelsea won the game with a 5–2 aggregate victory. The next week, Kelechi Iheanacho scored the only goal as Manchester City defeated Porto in the final of the 2014 Premier League International Cup.
In July 2015, Kelechi Iheanacho was included in the Manchester City pre-season tour team to Australia. On the tour, Kelechi Iheanacho set up the first goal for Raheem Sterling and scored the second goal which resulted in the victory against AS Roma in the 2015 International Champions Cup. In the Manchester City last preseason game against VfB Stuttgart, Kelechi Iheanacho came on as a substitute and scored a late goal, which resulted in a 4–2 win against VfB Stuttgart. Due to his impressive pre-season performance, Kelechi Iheanacho was promoted to the Manchester City senior squad.
On 10th August 2015, Kelechi Iheanacho was included in a first-team squad for the first time in a competitive fixture against West Bromwich Albion in their first game of the Premier League season, where he remained as an unused substitute in their 3–0 win against West Bromwich Albion. Few days later, Kelechi Iheanacho made his debut, replacing Raheem Sterling for the final minute of a 2–0 victory against Watford at the Manchester City Stadium.
On 12th September 2015, Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first competitive goal after replacing Wilfred Bony in the final minute of the match in an away against Crystal Palace and scored the only goal of the game. On 30th January 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first career hat-trick goal against Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup. A month later, Kelechi Iheanacho was included in the Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League squad at the expense of the injured Samir Nasri.
In February 2015, Kelechi Iheanacho scored against Tottenham Hotspur in a 2–1 home defeat for Manchester City. On 23rd April 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice against Stoke City in a 4–0 victory. On 1st May 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho scored two goals in a 4–2 defeat against Southampton.
By the end of the 2015–2016 seasons, Kelechi Iheanacho has eight Premier League goals and had the best goals-per-minute ratio of any player averaging a goal every 93.9 minutes. In summary of the competitions, Kelechi Iheanacho had finished with a record of 14 goals and 5 assist from 35 appearances, although he only started 11 of these games. However, the number of his goals further revealed that he ended the season as Manchester City third-highest goal scorer.
On 10th September 2016, kelechi Iheanacho started in the Manchester City game against Derby. During the game, he recorded an assist and his first goal of the season in a 2–1 win for Manchester City. Few days later, Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to score the final goal that resulted in a 4–0 home win in the Champions League against Borussia Monchengladbach.
In October 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho was nominated for the FIFA Golden Boy award, which was eventually won by Bayern Muniche’s midfielder Renato Sanches. However, the award has been previously won by Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi. On 6th December 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho scored a goal against Celtic which resulted in a 1-1 home draw in the Champions League.
On 3rd August 2017, Kelechi Iheanacho was signed by Premier League club Leicester City on a five-year contract reportedly worth £25 million. On 11th August 2017, Kelechi Iheanacho made his debut for Leicester City in a 4–3 defeat against Arsenal. On 24th October 2017, Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first goal for Leicester City in an EFL Cup against Leeds United.
On 16th January 2018, Kelechi Iheanacho became the first player in English football club to be awarded a goal due to VAR, as the referee deemed that the player had been incorrectly ruled offside for his second goal. The goal was Kelechi Iheanacho’s second in a 2–0 win against Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup Third Round replay.
In 2017, Kelechi Iheanacho represented Nigeria at the youth levels from under-13 upwards. His first experience of a major international tournament was the 2013 African U-17 Championship in Morocco. While playing against Botswana, Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick goal which resulted in a win against Botswana. He dedicated his goals to his mother, who died two months before the tournament.
Kekechi Iheanacho played a significant and important role in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he won the Golden Ball award. During the 2014 African Nations Championship, Kelechi Iheanacho trained with the Nigeria senior team squad (Super Eagles) but was released from the squad in order to travel to England to sign with Manchester City. He later became part of the Nigeria squad for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Kelechi Iheanacho later made his senior debut as a substitute in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Swaziland, a match in which Nigeria drew 0–0. On 25th March 2016, Kelechi Iheanacho started his first match with Nigeria senior team and played against Egypt, a match that later ended up in a 1–1 draw against Egypt in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match.
Kelechi Iheanacho was later selected to play in the Nigeria friendly match against Mali and Luxembourg in May 2016. He went further to score in the two games providing an assist which resulted in a goal against Luxembourg. His impressive performance in the friendly matches inspired the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and he was invited again to make his competitive debut against Egypt in an African cup of nations qualifying series where he provided an assist for Oghenekaro Etebo in the home game.
Throughout his career as a footballer, Kelechi Iheanacho has distinguished himself as one of the most important and most outstanding players in Nigeria. He has been regarded as a football legend when he scored two super goals in the two matches against Tanzania in Uyo and Zambia in Ndola.
In May 2018, Kelechi Iheanacho was named in Nigeria’s preliminary 30 man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Kelechi Iheanacho in the cause of his career as an international footballer has won several awards and honors. In 2013, he won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Ball. In 2013 and 2016, he won CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year. In 2016, he won Cup Team of the Year. In 2013, he won FIFA U-17 World Cup Silver Shoe. In 2013, he won CAF U-17 African Championship Silver Shoe.
Kelechi Iheanacho is currently one of the richest and most influential football player in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $12 million.