Super Eagles defender, Leon Balogun has narrated how a witch led him to play for Nigeria, which kicked off his career as a defender for the Super Eagles.
The 29-year-old defender, who is born to a Nigerian father and a German mother, was born and brought up in Germany with little knowledge about Nigeria so playing for a country like Nigeria was far from a good idea for him at the time
According to him, his sister led him to see a witch who diagnosed a hole in his aura and how he was still hurting from the death of a loved one who turned out to be his grandmother from Nigeria, whom he never met before she died.
“I was amazed. I hadn’t thought about my grandma that much since she passed when I was 16 years old,”
“But, this lady was right. My grandma’s death had a huge effect on me, and I had never even met my grandma, who lived in Nigeria. That’s the part that was wild to me.
“This woman, though, she saw it. She told me I had to heal my soul, my heart before I could become the player I wanted to be.
“After we left, I didn’t completely understand if my experience with her was successful. The most important thing that came out of that day was that it got me thinking about my grandma. When I got home, my mind went straight back to the day my dad told me the news.
“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. 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.”
The grief he felt over the death of his paternal grandmother led him to know more and reconnect with his Nigerian roots however, the re-connection was complete when in 2014 he received a call from the Super Eagles boss Stephen Keshi which turned out to be an invitation to the national team.
“Even after I overcame some of the injury issues I had as a teenager and began playing regular minutes in the 2. Bundesliga and Bundesliga, that thing — the part of my soul that I had been told to heal all those years ago — was still missing from my life,” the defender further wrote in the piece.
“In 2014, I was coming to the end of my contract with Fortuna Dusseldorf. I wasn’t sure where I would go next. There was uncertainty in my life, and from time to time I would think of the witch. What did she mean, ‘heal my soul?’
“One night in March, my phone rang. It was a Nigerian number … it was Stephen Keshi, the Nigerian National Team manager. I was sweating as soon as he introduced himself. I wanted him to say the words I had thought about for so long. He spoke for awhile about how he wasn’t totally familiar with me, but he liked how I played.
“Then he said it: ‘I would like to invite you to be a Super Eagle’.
“Those words … they meant so much to me. It meant validation for every step of my footballing journey. It meant happiness for my family. Most of all, it meant an opportunity to go to Nigeria.
And that … that was everything to me.”