Former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, recently disclosed how his family resorted to threats and potential blackmail if he didn’t comply with their financial demands. In a podcast interview with ‘Vibe With 5,’ Mikel revealed the pressures he faced when his family expected continuous financial support.
“Anything I earned, I used to provide so much for my family. They grew accustomed to it, expecting it from me. About five years ago, I had to firmly say I couldn’t continue,” the 35-year-old revealed, detailing the struggle to manage his finances and the intimidation tactics employed by some family members.
Mikel highlighted the added challenges African footballers often encounter, bearing the responsibility of supporting extended family beyond their immediate relatives.
“When African players earn money, it’s not just theirs. They have numerous relatives and cousins who rely on them. Even when their sisters marry, their spouses often expect financial assistance, directing the money away from the intended recipient,” Mikel expressed, describing the intricate dynamics of financial responsibilities and external pressures.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City player, Emmanuel Adebayor, had similarly opened up about his family’s attempts to exploit him financially, causing immense emotional distress. Despite his substantial career earnings, he felt manipulated by family demands, leading to profound psychological turmoil.
Both Mikel and Adebayor’s revelations shed light on the immense pressure professional athletes face in supporting extended family members, dealing with expectations ingrained in cultural obligations and struggling to maintain financial stability amidst such demands.