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Who are Cody Gakpo’s Parents? A Togolese Dad and Dutch Mom

Who are Cody Gakpo’s Parents? A Togolese Dad and Dutch Mom

Cody Gakpo made his parents mighty proud by scoring his first-ever goal in the European Championships in the Netherlands’ 2-1 win over Poland.

The Liverpool forward was a real menace in the final third and was rewarded for his tenacity when his long-range effort rifled into the back of the net, albeit with some help from a deflection.

Gakpo marked a positive start to the Euro 2024 campaign, continuing his impressive form in major international tournaments after scoring three goals in the 2022 FIFA World Cup too.

Despite his impressive rise in recent years, the 25-year-old has kept himself grounded and humble. A major reason for that could be likened to his upbringing and to his parents.

Cody was bon on 7 May, 1999 to Johnny Gakpo and Ank Gakpo. His father, Johnny, was born and raised in West African nation of Togo. He even played football for their national team, and even had a stint playing for PSV Eindhoven’s reserve team. However, Johnny failed to make it big as a footballer and was forced to retire at the age of 34.

Cody Gakpo with his dad Johnny

On the other hand, Ank had her own athletic background.

She was actually a professional rugby player and even represented the Netherlands national team in their haydays.

While the statistics of her career haven’t been preserved, Cody was reportedly once surprised to see that Ank had made the national newspapers’ headlines for playing a crucial part in helping Netherlands win an international rugby match.

Johnny and Ank reportedly met when the latter was on vacation in Togo. They probably bonded over their love for sports before one thing led to another and they fell in love. Johnny had apparently decided to move abroad from Togo around that time and was contemplating leaving for France, but decided to go to the Netherlands to live with Ank instead.

Cody Gakpo with his family

Ank has now transitioned into the role of a teacher in a secondary school in the Netherlands. Johnny is also retired and is now working more towards charitable work and also molding Gakpo to be involved in as much charity as possible.

Johnny Gakpo is personally involved in a lot of charity work to help the underprivileged people in Togo. In the summer of 2023, he convinced Cody to travel with him to the African country and partake in the family’s charitable affairs.

The Liverpool forward was seen handing over bowls of fruits and other food to hungry children in the country, earning him a lot of respect.

Cody has also admitted about how closely his father is still tied to events in Togo and how strongly he supports the national team.

The 25-year-old could’ve represented the Togo team thanks to his father’s heritage, and he spoke to Voetbal International about why he didn’t back in 2023: “I don’t follow the news in Togo closely. My father does. Where he first watched everything on television, he now follows the news and various other programmes on Togolese television via the internet.

“I only watch the matches of the national team with my father. He has several shirts from the national team, but he does not wear them during the matches. I regularly wore one of his shirts when I played football on the square in our neighbourhood as a child.. Personally, I have not had any contact [from Togo]. My choice for the Netherlands was not difficult. [His agent] Kees [Ploegsma Jr] made this known honestly and we have not heard anything since. Unfortunately, I don’t speak the language.”

Johnny and Ank Gakpo also decided to allow Cody to pursue sports from a young age.

They were extremely supportive as relayed by his PSV Eindhoven youth coach Twan Scheepers, who revealed: “His parents are very solid…. The parents, family, friends, his brothers, they did a great job in not pushing him too much. They wanted to show that life is good. They are a religious family. I think that’s important and a big thing in the world. He’s quite relaxed. The only thing that matters to him is playing the game, and nothing bothers him around it.”

Cody Gakpo’s parents have also instilled deep religious sentiments into their child. Gakpo actually led a Bible study (with Memphis Depay) during the 2022 World Cup camp for 15 Dutch teammates to help them understand the ‘words of god’.  

Cody had admitted that his family is extremely religious, and his parents have shaped him into the Bible-loving devotee he is today.

Gakpo’s family must be extremely proud of how good of a footballer he has turned out to be. The 25-year-old is intent on making his family name even prouder as he aims to help the Netherlands end their trophy drought and win their first major championship since Euro 1988.