Mustafa Amini's emotional Mother's Day surprise
Mustafa Amini's successful career overseas means he hasn't had the chance to celebrate Mother's Day with his mother in 10 years.
With the Socceroo now home recovering from a long-term injury, he took the opportunity to organise an extra-special surprise.
When the Socceroos media team cameras visited her house, Zahra Amini was only expecting a quick interview about her son's exploits.
What she got instead was a night that she won't be forgetting any time soon.
The last few years have been far from easy for the Amini family.
Mustafa's father Obaidullah passed away in March last year, with the Socceroo stranded in Denmark due to coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
"My father passed away and I couldn't come to the funeral due to COVID," Mustafa recalled.
"Watching on YouTube at 3am in the morning was tough, but my mum always called me and told me to stay strong.
She's a strong lady who has done a lot in life and to be here on Mother's Day and surprise her with some gifts and a nice dinner will go a long way. It's just a memory for life."
Speaking alongside his wife Natalie ahead of the surprise, Mustafa reflected on how his respect for mothers has taken on a whole new meaning since the birth of his first child Vienna.
"I actually know close up what mothers do and it's a tough job," he said. "It's a 24-hour job, so it's not easy, definitely not. I used to think it was easy."
On the short drive over to his mum's place, Amini provided a powerful window into her journey and exactly what she means to him.
"Everyone's mum is special. I'm very lucky to have my mum with me throughout my life," he said.
"And she came here as a refugee, she was in a detention center and that's where she met my father. Not long after they had four kids and I was the third of them."
"She calls me the golden child which is nice, I think because of the red hair! She's a beautiful lady with a good heart and when my dad was sick she stayed by him the whole time.
"She's still staying strong and has us kids, and her grandkids helping her."
They say mothers know everything and as Amini snuck through the front door, Zahra's first reaction was to tell him that she could sense something was up.
After a few laughs and an emotional embrace, the two sat down to open a large gift box that Mustafa had prepared, before heading out to dinner.
"You're going to make me cry," she said, after opening a canvas printed out with a memory of her alongside husband.
The image fit perfectly within the family's 'special home', which also includes Amini's childhood bedroom, lined with memorabilia from his grassroots days, club career in Europe and internationally with the Socceroos.
One of Mustafa's proudest moments to date is making his debut at the Sydney Football Stadium back in March 2017.
"My mum and dad were there, and it was all very exciting," he recalls.
"It was a beautiful moment where all of the hard work pays off thanks to mum."
"And dad!", Zahra makes sure to add.
As the family gathered to eat, Musti recalls how, "my dad always told me 'come home and play in Australia'"
"But football-wise and for the Socceroos, I think the best chance you have is playing overseas in Europe, in the heart of football."
Zahra explains what it was like to follow her son's career from the other side of the world.
"In the beginning it was really, really, really hard," she said.
"But we're very proud of him. I know sometimes he was looking very stressed, but he wouldn't ever tell us. Especially when he was in Dortmund - so I used to find out from the other kids!"
I always tell him to stay positive, think about your future, what you like, what's your goal and don't worry about anyone - just focus on what's important."
With dinner all set to arrive, Amini closed off the memorable piece by reflecting, "I did miss things like this, but at the end of the day I'm here now... it's Mother's Day and let's celebrate!"