Paul Okoye popularly know as Rudeboy shares his love for sports, playing football with Mikel Obi as a teen and why he became a Chelsea fan in this interview with KELVIN EKERETE.
Everybody knows my favourite sport is football. I can’t do without football. I play a lot of sports as well including basketball but I was really good at playing football.
Why did you not become a professional footballer?
Let’s just say I was checking football and music at the same time.
But somehow, I was making more money from music. How do I make money?
I performed at weddings and they sprayed me money.
But in football, you donate money, your team plays in a competition and you lose and that is it, all the money is gone.
The primary school we used to train, we pay a certain amount of money every month.
It was just too expensive for us so I switched to music. I am doing well at it as well.
Do you think you would have made it as a footballer?
I would have made it if the government had provided the facilities in those days.
The government would have said “every school, open your field for whoever wants to play football.
Everybody was just unconcerned. I thank God for music it saved me.”
If I had gotten the encouragement from the government I think I could have followed my football dreams.
You played with Mikel Obi while growing up, what was it like playing with him?
It was just a normal thing. Just like playing every day with your guys. Nothing serious.
He was in a school called Township Primary School. That was where their own team was while I was in Fatima primary school then.
Some guys came and wanted a youth team, I was selected, my brother was selected as well. However, you could tell during training that he didn’t belong there.
All of us were learners. His house was opposite the stadium. So, you could tell where the skills came from.
He just crossed the main road and he is at the stadium. Like I said it was a normal thing playing with him back then.
What team do you support?
I support any team Mikel plays in. When he said he was going to Man United, I supported Man United.
When he went to Chelsea, I became a Chelsea fan. That was how I actually became a Chelsea fan. It was all because of Mikel.
While he was at Chelsea, I fell in love with some players.
One of them is Eden Hazard. I now support Real Madrid because of Hazard. That’s my second team.
Before you became a Chelsea fan, which team did you support?
I supported some European sides like Ajax, Anderlecht, nothing serious. I just liked the way they played.
What do you think the government should do to develop sports in Nigeria?
There are stadiums and in these places, you see only football.
Nigerians are fixated with football. We have other sports like boxing, tennis, basketball too.
I have been to South Africa, I was to perform at a stadium which they called their Olympic stadium in Johannesburg.
It was there I discovered why South Africa has a great swimming team for the Olympics. Gymnastics, everything.
Once they select their best, nothing stops them.
Where in Nigeria do we have all these? And we have had ministers of sports!
What have they been ministering? What have they been doing?
Source: The Punch