Leicester City defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has revealed how his father who was a soldier never wanted him to play football but wanted him in school despite not having the money to pay the fees. The 23-year-old Nigerian international revealed that his father would beat him whenever he learnt that he had gone to a football training.
Ndidi said he finally got his way when his father was transferred to another state in Nigeria and left him and other members of his family in Lagos. This gave him the opportunity to train more frequently and with more rest of mind since his father was not at home to punish him for playing football.
“It was difficult because my dad wanted me to go to school but there was no money,” he told Out of Home Podcast.
“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.”
Ndidi’s passion for the game and his determination to liberate himself from the chains of poverty open the doors for him to be accepted into Nath Boys Academy. From there, he got the lifetime opportunity of being part of Nigeria under 20 national team where he was spotted by Belgian Pro League Genk in 2015.
Within two years at the club, his performance attracted Premier League side Leicester City that paid £17 million to acquire his services. Since he arrived in the Premier league, Ndidi has remained one of the most important members of Leicester City and also regarded as one of the best Defensive Midfielders in the Premier League. He is also regarded as one of the best tacklers in the league. And that could be so because of his upbringing.
“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”, the Leicester star said. “I was training with the bigger guys but just for ten minutes because I was too small.
“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.”