Popular actor, Jide Kosoko, in this interview speaks about growing up in Lagos, how he used to play street football with the likes of late Haruna Ilerika, sends out message to Argentina’s Lionel Messi…Enjoy
Do you like sports?
Of course I do but it depends on the kind of sport we are talking about. I like football but I’m not a deep fan. I like to watch Nigerian teams play and wish them well.
Aside football, which other sports do you follow?
I like table tennis passionately. That’s my favourite game.
As a child, which sports were you actively involved in?
I played football a lot as a child.
Can you still play now?
(In Yoruba) You are not serious, Ebenezer. How can I play football at this my age? If you like, record it and expose me so that people will know I can’t play football again. Won’t you stop me if I tell you I want to play football? On a more serious note, I still do some exercises but not football per say. I have lots of grandchildren now and we play football together in the compound. That’s the kind of football I can play.
Did you enjoy street football while growing up?
Of course, street football was our main thing in those days. I played street football with Haruna Ilerika, I am sure you know him. We played street football together lots of times at Rowe Park, the field behind Casino Cinema, at Alagomeji Yaba, Evans Square and several other places. I grew up within the vicinity.
Which position did you use to play?
I used to play as number seven. That is a winger.
Does that mean you run fast?
Very well, I was always in front.
Do you have any medal or trophy to show for playing football?
I don’t have any. But as a group, I won many cups with my clubs in those days. We were local champions.
Were you rebuked by your parents for playing football?
Well, it was a normal thing for every parent back in those days. It is not as if they were totally against football, but they just wanted me to face my studies.
Who is your favourite sportsperson?
If you meet him today, what will you tell him?
I will tell him to retire. Enough is enough; he should leave the stage while the ovation is loudest.
Recently the Super Eagles lost to Madagascar. How did you feel?
It was painful because I always want our team to win.
Don’t you think watching the Eagles play can make you hypertensive, knowing that they don’t meet the expectations of Nigerians sometimes?
You see, I can never be hypertensive because I always take my pains lightly. If they win they win and if they lose they lose. There is nothing I can do about it. I don’t go to the extent of thinking about it. It’s not just football that I apply that to, but anything in life generally.
Do you have a crush for any female athlete?
No, I don’t. I am not a big fan of women’s football or sports in general.
Which European football club do you support?
First and foremost, I love Nigeria playing. But if I tell you the club I support you will laugh at me because people have always relegated us. But that not withstanding, I remain a Gunner (Arsenal fan) for life.
Who is your favourite Arsenal player?
Guy, you are taking me too far. Well, my favourite Arsenal player is whichever one you like.
If you have the opportunity to buy Arsenal FC, will you grab it?
Do you mean to buy Arsenal? I will buy it and effect new changes to bring the club back to the top.
What are those changes?
First, I will stop Arsenal from being a full business-minded club. I will stop the club from building players and selling them off. Rather, I will ensure they spend heavily bringing in quality players the way Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and the other big clubs are doing. The whole thing is about winning, and if you are not winning, you need to look for a way out. I will also look for a good coach that can balance things up.
If you had not been an actor, what other professions would you have chosen?
I don’t know what I will be doing because I like what I am doing a lot. But I guess I would have been a lawyer.
Do you watch the Nigerian league?
Yes, in fact I support Enyimba because they are not doing badly.
Will you like to take part in a novelty match?
I have been participating in novelty games but you won’t mind me to use my hands to carry the ball at times.
As a role model, what advice do you have for the youths?
I just want to tell them that the country is theirs, and they must ensure that they do what is right at all time. Right in the sense that they should know what is good for them and pursue it passionately. Secondly, they should show more interest in politics because that is the only thing that can guarantee their participation in the country’s governance.