Recycling of Eagles players must stop –Wofai Fada
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Actress, Wofai Egu Ewa, popularly known as Wofai Fada, talks on why she didn’t go into sports , the Super Eagles and more, in this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD
While growing up, did you take part in sports?
Yes I did. I was the games prefect of my secondary school back then. I took part in high jump, long jump and sprints. My father was a sportsman and I learnt a few football tricks from him, even though I didn’t engage more in the sport. He tried all he could for me to become a footballer because I was athletic then, but I opted against it for many reasons.
Why did you also shun other sports?
Back then in Nigeria, the sports sector never favoured the women and that was a one major reason I didn’t focus more on my sports career as a long jumper. They were not getting the attention they needed then and I felt it wasn’t really going to be worth the try, so I backed out. But recently we have seen the likes of Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Blessing Oborodudu and Odunayo Adekuoroye trying to break the barriers. But still, you still find that Austin Okocha, Joseph Yobo and the likes get more endorsements and sponsorships with their pictures splashed on the billboards.
Do you still take part in sports?
When I have the chance, yes, but I just do it for leisure now. I’m more interested in football now because of the job I do at the moment and it’s really exciting.
What really excites you about football?
The fans actually excite me because they do more than the key actors (the players) who are on the pitch. I love to see them share their emotions when their teams lose games, banter at each other and sometimes fight or argue over issues. I love seeing goals scored in games because it makes the game really fun for me as well.
How would you assess Nigerian football at the moment?
Football is not a part of the country’s priority at the moment and that’s why we have failed to advance. It’s a deep conversation but trying to keep it short, I’d say more attention should be given to football and sports in general because it knows no bounds and its one unifying factor because it has no religion. If the government invests more in sports, poverty will be alleviated. The football I grew up watching back then is not what it is at the moment. The passion and commitment those players showed on the pitch can’t be compared to what we see now. A whole lot has changed, from their earnings, commitments and their development as well.
How impressed have you been with the Super Eagles?
Forget the Eagles, they have a long way to go that’s all I can say. We didn’t even qualify for the World Cup and failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup in Cameroon and this had nothing to do with the players, but the administration. We keep changing the coaches and that affects the team because every coach comes with a new idea and the journey begins again. And that is not the solution. There are so many underrated players ready to play for the country but what we do is keep recycling names that have failed us when it mattered most. It’s time to move on from the old guards and ensure things are done the right way.
Under new coach Jose Peseiro, the Eagles have managed two wins, two defeats and a draw. What do you make of this?
We have a long way to go, I must tell you. We need a good plan to ensure that we get things right and not mess them up again.
Who is your favourite player in the Eagles?
Kelechi Iheanacho is my favourite considering what he has done with Leicester City. He helped the Foxes win the FA Cup and the Community Shield years back and has been impactful whenever he played for Leicester City.
Alex Iwobi is another player but the Eagles have fallen and I hope they soar someday.
What do you make of Mikel Obi’s retirement from football?
He has been retired for a year now. He just made it official on Tuesday. He is one of Nigeria’s most decorated players and he gave his best to the country. I wish him all the best. There are so many Nigerian footballers retired now without a plan, I’m sure he (Mikel) has a plan for his retirement. I meet some of our ex-footballers and some look very sick and not fit. I’m not making a case for them, but there should be something like a retirement plan for these footballers to be relevant after active football. Austin Okocha is a brand ambassador to a betting firm because he has managed to repackage himself, but how about others? There must be a system to help these former internationals and I think the federation should look into this as well.
If you were a coach and you had to pick either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to fill in a position on your team, who will you pick?
I will go for Lionel Messi because his purpose in life is to play football, while Ronaldo worked for it. There is a difference between if you are destined for something and when you work hard for it. Messi is so unpredictable, unlike Ronaldo. He has won more accolades than Ronaldo since their rivalry started. In terms of league titles, Messi has nine, four more than Ronaldo. In competitions they’ve both won; Messi has the advantage over Ronaldo. He’s won three more cup competitions than Ronaldo (Copa del Rey and FA Cup). He also has three more European Super Cups. So, I will go for him any day.