“In 2-3 years I should retire. I don’t want to do anything when I retire. I just want to rest. For 2years at least. I need to rest,” Emmanuel Sarki said.
A career span that has lasted 17 years has seen him go through good, bad and ugly times.
He has been swindled, supported and surprised in his almost two decades of football.
Bursting on to the football scene in 2003, Sarki who started as a Nigerian youth international lost one of his closest family members, his brother, some years ago. He recounts the experience with pain, acknowledging how well his brother helped him, but also said his brother almost destroyed his life too.
“My late brother did everything to make sure I have a lot of properties in Nigeria and also did everything to make sure he destroyed me.
“I would send money to Nigeria, around €50,000 (fifty thousand euros). He’d collect the money from the bank and bolt, touring countries around the west coast of Africa, spending lavishly and would return when the money is finished. Families would gather and beg on his behalf.”
In his forgiving spirit, he said he stood behind him despite what he did to him, but he committed suicide after being placed under heavy pressure by his wife.
“I then came to Nigeria to meet him and talked. I asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to get married and would want me to buy him a house afterward. He married and I bought him a house and car. I also gave him 10m to start a business and still pay him salary. It didn’t take a year for problems to begin. He began to have problems with his wife who was constantly victimising him that he’s dependent on his brother and was lazy. He couldn’t handle the pressure any longer, so he committed suicide by taking poison, after which we collected the property from the wife. He has a 10year old son named Victor who I now fully cater for. I’ve set up a lot of my friends, two are even in Belgium playing football. he said.
Sarki has good plans for his life, as his career gradually winds down. He has a wife in Poland, and has found a home in the European country.
“I will be shuffling between Poland and Nigeria. I’d be here in summer and Nigeria when it’s winter here. I need to be in Nigeria taking care of my business myself.
“When I always go to Nigeria, I always thought I’d find woman in Nigeria but to get good wife in Nigeria is hard. This woman, when I came here, she supported me, taught me language. We started out like friends, it’s 6years now.
“She advised me to settle down and then I decided it’d be with her. I’m still with my woman in Nigeria. I made both understand that celebrity life is very difficult. My woman in Holland, we are not together but I see my daughter.
The former U-20 and U-23 player has a clear idea of what he wants after retirement. He has been through the hustle and bustle of a largely rewarding career.
“I want to be a stay home dad after retirement,” he said affirmatively. It’s his desire, and he’s ready to see it come through.