Some persons who feel that grass to grace stories told by most motivational speakers are fake should read the story of our own classic professional Footballer, Wilfred Ndidi. Or maybe they may be quick to label this story ‘cock and bull as well’.
Ndidi has open up to tell us his experiences while growing up and how he hawked fruits so as to support the mother. Wilfred Ndidi was born and raised in the big city of Lagos, his father happened to be a soldier and the soldier father wasn’t really comfortable with his son’s decision to be a footballer.
Ndidi had to accommodate his father’s hostility while helping the mother sell fruits and food stuff which contributed to their source of survival and sustainability.
We all know that soldiers are very strict set of people and having a possibly strict soldier father was not really easy for the young Wilfred Ndidi. He continued sharpening his football skills and talent until he Rose to recognition while playing for Nigeria at the 2013 U20 FIFA World Cup in Turkey.
He was later signed by the Belgium club side, Gent and then subsequently he joined Leicester city in 2017 for a fee of £17M.
Wilfred Ndidi in his own words has this to say about his childhood;
“Though we had some ups and downs and trying to meet up with some bills, I was always there for my mum,”
“My mum was a food vendor and I supported her by hawking. I don’t regret that because growing up was really tough because it was all about survival. There were no fruits that I didn’t sell.
“I was the market boy and I was known mostly for selling groundnuts because it comes out every season. Just name them – I sold peppers, tomatoes and avocado. We basically sold fruits that came with different seasons. All these were done to survive in the military zone and outside.”
On several occasions, Ndidi said he got punished for playing football.
“It was difficult because my dad wanted me to go to school but there was no money,” he continued.
“What made it easier for me was that when he was transferred out of Lagos. I had the freedom because when he was around, if I go out to train and he gets home before me, I have to explain where I was coming from. When I tell him I went to play football, I get whooped.
“There was a time I got whooped with a cow skin ‘Koboko’ and it was like a tattoo on my body. I couldn’t wear my shirt because when I put my clothes on, it becomes sticky and it’s painful. It was a military kind of discipline.”
Unlike other kids, Ndidi says he never had a chance to train with his age group,
“Growing up, I didn’t get a chance to play more with my peers because they were training in the evenings while the bigger guys were training in the morning. I was training with the bigger guys but just for ten minutes because I was too small,” he added.
“They always put me in when everyone is tired and also for them to be able to give me the training bibs to wash and bring the next day.
“My mum kept complaining because I didn’t have the time to wash them because I had to go hawk for her, but before I return, she would have washed them. That was the routine until I left my mum for Nath Boys.”