Nigerian defender, Leon Balogun has opened up on some of the struggles he faced on his way to achieving his dream as a professional footballer.
In an article on the player’s tribune, Balogun discussed his mixed heritage, his visit to a witch – which helped him heal – and his journey with the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The defender, who has a Nigerian father and a German mother, revealed that even though he never met his grandmother before, he spoke to her on phone with his father helping with translation as his grandmother could only speak Yoruba.
The news of her death left him terribly sad as it threw up more questions than answers in his journey to finding his roots.
“Because I had never met her, my dad didn’t tell me right when it happened. He actually waited a few days — that’s how distant my relationship was from her,” Balogun said.
He continued: “She only spoke Yoruba. So when we talked on the phone when I was little, my dad would try to translate for us. He had never taken me to Nigeria, for reasons he didn’t make clear to me, and I only ever saw photos of my grandma.”
“When my dad told me, he pulled me aside in our home. I have this vivid memory of the feeling — like, this terrible, terrible feeling of sadness. I crawled up the stairs, sobbing my eyes out. I cried for an hour. My mom had to come to my room and ask me what was wrong … she couldn’t understand why I was so sad, either.”
It was not until a visit to a witch five years later that he discovered that the death of his grandmother held the key to what was to come regarding his future.
“Four or five years ago, you lost a person very close to you, but someone who you didn’t completely know, either… heal your soul, heart, before you can become the player you want to be” was the Russian witch’s message to him.
Years after, Balogun chose to represent Nigeria rather than Germany and he was part of the Super Eagles team that grabbed the country’s crucial world cup ticket against Zambia in 2017.
A scene that left Balogun go down in tears at the final whistle and the words of his captain, John Mikel Obi,keeps ringing in his ear.
““No, no, you don’t get to cry. You don’t get to cry. We’re going to Russia!”
Read Balogun’s battle against Racism And The Full Article By The Player HERE