Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho has opened up about his childhood and how tough it was for him and his family growing up.
The 19-year old has spoken of how difficult it was for him to watch Premier League matches on TV back then, as he couldn’t afford to pay his way to a viewing center to see games and barely watched his present club, Manchester City on TV.
Iheanocho came from a humble background and grew up in Imo State, South-East Nigeria, and while many of his friends would pay their way to watch Premier League matches on weekends, he would either stay at home or play football on the streets as he couldn’t afford the luxury. He couldn’t afford to pay the N50 viewing fee.
He says: “We didn’t have the money,” he told the UK Dailymail. “Maybe after the game I’d hear the scores and all that. I’d be at home playing football and my friends would come back after being there to tell me. We didn’t have a television at home.”
The Nigerian international says sometimes he would be able to afford to watch the Spanish La Liga, as it was cheaper, and as a result, he grew fond of Yaya Toure, then of Barcelona and made him his idol, but now, they are teammates.
“Sometimes I watched the Spanish league — it was a bit cheaper, maybe 30 naira,” he adds. “But the Premier League was 50. Sometimes I’d watch the Premier League if I found the money, or I’d go there and beg them to let me in. Or sneak in for the second half and pay half the money.
“I support Barcelona because I watched the Spanish league. I saw Yaya [Toure] playing for Barcelona… and now I’m playing with him. It’s a dream come true.
“I have to be my own man but he is a big influence in Africa. He has done a lot in Africa and I hope to do that as well,” he said.