Super Eagles star Moses Simon has revealed that he almost missed out on becoming a professional football, Soccernet.ng reports.
One of Nigeria’s most productive wingers in Europe’s major leagues, Simon says that he would have become a doctor or a soldier if he had followed his father’s wishes.
But in an interview with L’Equipe, the Nantes forward has detailed how a five-hour meeting between his military father and another officer was needed before a gifted young Simon was allowed to play football.
“In the neighborhood where we lived, daily life is difficult; he (Simon’s father) didn’t want me to become a bad boy,” says Simon, who grew up in the military barracks.
“He told me: ‘You must be in the military or something else good, but not a footballer! You will choose after college. I was a good student; that’s why my father saw me as a soldier or a doctor. But I chose a high school where we played football.
“Later, the football school coach came to see me: ‘Simon, you are a good player; now we are going to talk with your father because you can, perhaps, become a pro’.
“But everyone feared my father, a very tough, impressive man. There was only one other soldier who could talk to him about it. The father of one of the other coaches at the academy was also a soldier; he felt strong enough to come and speak with him.
“He arrived at the house at 1 p.m., and the discussion ended at 6 p.m. My father warned him: ‘He’s my son. For him, I had chosen a career as a soldier or a doctor. If something happens to him, you’re going to have big problems.”
Once he was allowed to play football, Simon grabbed it with both hands.
The youngster departed from GBS Academy to join Ajax in 2013. His time in the Netherlands did not go as planned, but he arrived at Trencin in 2014 and became one of the best recruits in Slovakia.
The following year, Simon moved to Belgium to sign for Gent, where he helped the club win the Belgian Pro League and the Belgian Super Cup within his first few months.
In August 2018, La Liga campaigners Levante secured Simon’s signature on a five-year contract.
Simon joined Nantes on an initial season-long loan deal in 2020, and he made the move permanent 12 months later.
The 28-year-old has been one of Nigeria’s most productive wingers in Ligue 1 history, scoring 24 goals and providing 27 assists in 133 games.
Simon also has nine goals in 60 appearances for Nigeria and he was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.