Nigerian professional footballer and Leicester City defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has opened up about his tough childhood.
Born on December 6, 1996, Ndidi was part of the Nigerian youth setup during his time at Nathaniel Boys of Lagos.
Though he is one of the most recognizable soccer stars in the country, the 24-year-old player had it rough while growing up in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.
He recalls how selling fruits then was a battle on the streets while he tried to find a way around his father’s hostility towards his interest in football.
Ndidi disclosed that he had to help his mother sell fruits and food in order to sustain the family while playing football and hoping for a breakthrough.
In a chat with the Out of Home Podcast, Ndidi said:
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.”
Ndidi said that he was punished on several occasions for playing football.
Ndidi also revealed that unlike other children, he never had a chance to train with his age mates.
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