In one of the most incredible journeys from poverty to the English Premier League, Emmanuel Emenike had been through some heart-wrenching experiences in his sojourn in Turkey.
He was accused of having a fake passport, homeless and slept on a restaurant floor; traumatized after a horrific car crash and targeted by racists, the 28 years-old striker shares all these with our readers.
WEST HAM new-boy Emmanuel Emenike is still haunted by the match-fixing hell which led to him being thrown in prison.
The Nigerian striker spent four frightening nights in a Turkish cell accused of faking injury to deliberately miss a title-deciding game.
Emenike’s match-fixing misery began in July, 2011, when he was playing for Turkish club Karabukspor.
Just two months after joining, he was arrested as part of a football corruption investigation.
He was accused of deliberately missing a match against Fenerbahce with a fake injury, in return for getting a move to the Turkish giants.
Fenerbahce won the game 1-0 to clinch the title, but two weeks later the champions were alleged to have rewarded Emenike by signing him for £9million.
Emenike and Karabukspor denied the allegations and his club produced a doctor’s certificate verifying his injury.
However, Emenike was still thrown in jail before being released by a Turkish court because of a lack of evidence.
And Emenike, who joined the Hammers in January on loan from Fenerbahce, revealed: “My time in prison was a crazy nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.
“I’ve never committed a crime in my life, but I was treated like a criminal, living on bread and water.
“It was not a good experience! It gave me a different perspective on life.”
Although Emenike was released after four days, the investigation continued and he was not acquitted until April 2013.
He added: “When I was finally cleared I thanked God for letting justice prevail.”
On his release from prison, Fenerbahce sold him to Russian club Spartak Moscow before he had even played a match.
But that move also brought turmoil as he became the victim of racist abuse. Emenike was the target of vile monkey chants by Dynamo Moscow fans in a league match in 2012 — but was banned and fined £11,720 for retaliating with an offensive gesture.
He returned to Fenerbahce in the summer of 2013, scoring 12 league goals to help the club to the title in his first season.
But two years later he was on the team bus that was shot at by a gunman on its way to Trabzon airport in Turkey.
The driver was wounded and taken to hospital but all the players escaped injury.
Emenike recalled: “I was on the phone to my brother when I heard a loud bang. The bus suddenly swerved and there was panic.
“I instinctively took cover and our security officer told us the driver had been shot. Seeing him covered in blood was scary.
“We were lucky but it brought back bad memories. I had been involved in a terrible car accident in Nigeria where my mother and I both lucky to be alive.”
As a kid, Emenike defied his father Felix Ndukwu’s wishes to pursue his football dream.
He left Lagos for South Africa in his teens, only to end up homeless and penniless, sleeping on the floor of the Pure Grace restaurant in Johannesburg.
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Emenike admitted: “My dad wanted me to become a businessman. Whenever I played football he would shout at me but, eventually, he allowed me to play.”
By 2007, he had earned enough money to pay for a video showcasing his footballing talent and was signed by Mpumalanga Black Aces before moving to FC Cape Town a year later, where he earned £34 a month.
He signed for Turkish second division club Karabukspor in 2009, making his debut for Nigeria in February, 2011.
But more controversy followed when a Turkish newspaper was forced to apologise for falsely accusing him of having a fake passport and being 31 — not 24.
Emenike, who helped Nigeria win the 2013 African Nations Cup, joined UAE side Al Ain on loan last summer from Fenerbahce.
But he cut that short to continue his crazy career with West Ham in the Premier League.