ITV World Cup pundit Nadia Nadim returned to the screen yesterday, a week after the tragic death of her mother forced her off air.
The Denmark women’s striker, who left the broadcaster’s studio mid-match last Tuesday upon learning her mother, Hamida, had been “killed by a truck” on the way back from the gym, resumed her duties for Netherlands’ win over Qatar.
The 34-year-old revealed her mother, with whom she had fled her native Afghanistan age 11 after her army general father was executed by the Taliban, had gone to the gym early on the day she died so she could watch her daughter on television.
Presenter Laura Woods opened ITV’s coverage of the Netherlands-Qatar match by welcoming back Nadim and inviting her to pay tribute to the 57-year-old.
Nadim said: “She was a very strong woman who inspired not only me, a lot of people around her.
“Obviously, I’m sad. But, on the other hand, she raised us to be strong, and I think this is how also to show how to be strong, and I want to make her proud. I know she wanted me to be here.
“I remember, when the accident happened, she had said that she’s going to go earlier to the gym so she can see the show. So, the reason I’m here is to make her proud and obviously have a mind on football and work and try to build something instead of laying at home and feeling sad for myself.”
Woods responded: “Nadia, we are really happy here to have you back. We’re so happy that you’re with us in the studio today. We appreciate it as well. So, thank you and thanks for those amazing words. Because I think you’re an inspiration as well, and we could spend a lot more time thinking about that, too.”
Woods then invited Nadim’s fellow pundit Nigel De Jong, who had been present when she learned of her mother’s death, to move the discussion on to Tuesday’s match.
But he replied: “Before I go into that, I want to show a massive respect to you, Nadia, as well. My condolences to you. I think I can speak for all of us here, the condolences, but also the respect that we have for you to come out here and still perform the way how you did.
“It’s been a difficult time for you. I was there, actually, with you when it happened, when you heard the message. So, I was quite close by. And, of course, we were shell-shocked when we heard the news.
“But, again, massive respect for you. I’ll be here and we’ll be here for you and we hope to get a couple of good laughs in the studio also as a tribute to your mother. So, I just wanted to get that out of the way before we go to the football.”
Nadim, who plays for Racing Louisville in the National Women’s Soccer League and previously starred for Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, responded by thanking De Jong in his native Dutch.
She had revealed her tragic news on Instagram last Wednesday, writing: “Tuesday morning my Mother was killed by a truck. She was on her way back from the gym.
“Words can not describe what I’m feeling. I have lost the most important person in my life and it happened so sudden and unexpected.
“She was only 57. She was a warrior who had fought for every inch of her life. She didn’t give me life once but twice, and everything I/ we are is because of her.
“I have lost my home and I know nothings gonna ever feel the same. Life is unfair and I don’t understand why her and why this way. I love you and I will see you again.”
She added: “Her funeral is gone [going to] be soon, (more information to follow). Please come and show her the love, respect and prayers she deserves.”