Leicester City and Super Eagles player Wilfred Ndidi, has narrated his childhood struggles and how he sold fruit for his mum to feed the family
Born and raised in Lagos, Ndidi, whose father was a soldier, said he had to battle through selling fruits on the streets of Lagos while navigating his father’s ”hostility” towards his football aspirations.
According to the 23-year-old Ndidi, he had to help his mum sell fruits and food in order to sustain the family while he kept playing football and hoping for a breakthrough.
Ndidi rose to prominence featuring for Nigeria at the 2013 Fifa U20 World Cup in Turkey before he was signed by Genk of Belgium, then in 2017 he joined Leicester city for £17m and he is now one of the first names on the team sheet for both club and country.
Speaking to 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.”
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.”
See comments and reactions
Ifeanyi Okeke: 💁💁💁That’s it. majority of our youths admire the luxurious cars and houses some of this our celebrities built and just want to get them over night, but they forget and refuse to look at the years, struggle, hustle and hardwork put in place to get to that height. 👉99% of successful stories always has a rough and tough begging, so our youths should take life easy, be hardworking and trust in God. you will definitely get there ✈✈✈
Ekpere Rosemary: Everybody have a story to tell, so I don’t understand all this motivational speaker, u re blessed tnk God, don’t come online and telling people
I brought 2 cup of bean I made 10k
I brought 1 cartoon of biscuit I made 20k
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Ifunanya Nuel: Every successful person have a story to tell, for me I have a wonderful story to tell but let me just make it first.✍️
Fred Okiridu: This is what guys of this days don’t want hear, there are always in a hurry to make wealth not minding the risk involve.. Lesson to our guys, hustle to tell u that when there is life there is hope, never despise ur little beginning.
Ebube Ikeji: God in heaven remembers anybody in his own appointed time that is why it is good to remain strong focus and work hard he remembers one when’s is due time assumed you give up during that time you could have not been here now so let your testimony be a lesson to anybody reading this your update
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King Nazareth: I am not a story teller but let me tell you this. Never loose hope as long as there is life there must always be a way .never stop believing in your dreams and have faith in your faith …. in God we trust
Benevolence Benjamin: I pushed truck.
Carried coco cola, limca, goldspot, Lina’s and paani treated water and supplied it around all retail shops around onitsha.
I baked snacks and supplied to different schools and kiosks around onitsha
Sold recharge card.
Sold p.m.s(black market)
Wetin remain is a complete success to summarise my story.
We have a lot of stories to tell.
For now were focus to complete journey.
Ebirim Marylin: Better to hustle n make it than to be born with silver spoon n senseless.
To every child on d street hustling by faith with all honesty. U shall make this money IJN. Amen