The Nigerian striker dedicated his maiden Premier League hat-trick to mums around the world on Mother’s Day in a post-match interview that earned plenty of praise Kelechi Iheanacho captured the hearts of the nation when he dedicated his maiden Premier League hat-trick to mums around the world, but there is a poignant story to his message.
After Iheanacho’s treble helped Leicester City to their biggest win of the campaign against Sheffield United on Sunday, he told Sky Sports: “I’m going to use this opportunity to dedicate this hat-trick to all of the mothers in the world, the ones taking care of us. I wish them all a happy Mother’s Day.”
Iheanacho’s message is perhaps more emotional given his own mum died when he was just 16.
Mercy, a teacher, died aged 43 after a brief illness. Later that year, 2013, Iheanacho was named player of the tournament as Nigeria won the Under-17s World Cup, his performances catching the eye of Manchester City.
And since arriving in the Premier League, he has honoured his mum’s memory by pointing to the skies when he scores, the 24-year-old appearing close to tears when he scored the goal that sealed his first league hat-trick on Sunday.
“The reason I point to heaven is because I think there is a God in heaven and also it’s for my mum, I know she’s watching when I score,” he said. “So I want to show my appreciation for God and for my late mum.”
He added: “It’s a really great day for me, my family and my team-mates. I’m delighted. I’m thankful for my team-mates and the manager for helping me to get to this level, and for Jamie Vardy, he has helped me a lot.
“I have been waiting for this day to come, it’s my first hat-trick in the Premier League, and I’m delighted. Hope fully there are many more to come in the future. My second team’ – Micah Richards hails Leicester City transfer strategy
Iheanacho was keen to thank Vardy because it was his passes that laid on the first two of his three against the Blades.
The attacking set-up deployed by Brendan Rodgers, with the two strikers supported by Ayoze Perez in the number 10 role, paid off handsomely for City. “That’s what happens when three strikers play in the same game,” Iheanacho said. “It was on for us today.
“It wasn’t really coming in the first half, we got a few chances and then got the goal, but in the second half it opened up for us and we were all over them, we pressed them, we got the ball, and we put the ball in the net, so it was a really lovely Sunday for us.”