Ronaldo influenced my decision to start hotel business –Afolayan
Movie producer and director, Okiki Afolayan, talks about his fondness for Cristiano Ronaldo, his love for football ahead of other sports in this interview with EBENEZER BAJELA
You are famous for producing some of the best Nollywood movies in the country. Does this knowledge cut across sport?
I love football so much and it is one thing I use to chill out whenever I am less busy producing movies.
We’ve heard some people say the only sport they know is football. Do you belong to that class too?
Well, I am sorry to disappoint you because unfortunately I also belong to that class. Football is the only sport that I know and think of. I don’t like any other sport at all.
Why just football?
Football is one sport that brings people together, I have never seen anything as unifying as football. Even when people are hungry or having issues, you see them put their differences or issues aside anytime there is the need to watch football, especially when they are supporting the same club or if it is Nigeria playing. Even with the nature of my job, if I want to get to blend with guys when I travel to new areas, I just go to the field and before you know it we become friends and things just click.
With this passion for football, did you play the game as a kid?
Yes I did. I played a lot of it while growing up and I even thought everybody do, until I later realised that not everyone did. I didn’t take it too seriously the way some guys did because for me back then it was just to catch fun. And I should let people know that I was a very good striker then.
Did your parents discourage you from playing football?
This had nothing to do with my parents. In fact, my parents have never stopped me from whatever I tried doing, instead they support me. Anything that has to do with discouragement from parents, I never experienced it because they allowed me to do everything I intended doing and I guess that’s why I am where I am today.
Looking at the money in football now, would you have wished you took it seriously?
Not even the new contract given to Lionel Messi by PSG would have tempted me to play football because it is not my calling. It is not something I can do professionally, so I don’t need to waste my time on football when I have my own talent.
Who is your favourite footballer?
My favourite player is none other than the most talented footballer in the world Cristiano Ronaldo. And even when people ask me why I love him I tell them it is because he is Ronaldo. The truth is he is the first player I will ever know and love with so much passion in my life and I have been following his movement and development. I started following him from when he was at Manchester United to Real Madrid and from there to where he is now in Italy, Juventus. I don’t know where he will go when he decides to leave Italy. I just wish it could be Enyimba here in Nigeria but that’s just my imagination. But the fact remains that I go anywhere Ronaldo goes and that’s why I am a Juve fan at the moment. Maybe one day when he retires I will sit down and think of the new club that I want to support.
If you are given the given the opportunity to meet an athlete of the opposite sex. Who would that be?
The only athlete I want to meet in my life is Ronaldo. This might sound strange, but I really would love to meet him and probably dine with him.
You must really love Ronaldo?
I followed him to the extent that when I travelled to the United States I went the extra mile to lodge in his hotel in New York. But it was unfortunate that I couldn’t meet him in person. The hotel was lovely and expensive, but all because it was owned by Ronaldo I decided to lodge there.
Do you remember the name of the hotel?
Why won’t I remember the hotel’s name? The name of the hotel is Pestana CR7 Times Square. Let me quickly add that Ronaldo influenced my decision to start my own hotel business too here in Nigeria.
Hope your wife isn’t jealous with this love you’ve got for Ronaldo?
Why would she be when I’m not gay?
Since you didn’t play football, will you encourage your children to do so?
Definitely, I don’t mind them playing football because I love the game so much. To be candid with you, words can’t express how much I love football. But the only thing I didn’t do was to play (professionally). I can do anything for football. As far as I am concerned, there is no other sport apart from football.
Have you ever thought of owning a football club?
That is not something I have thought of because I don’t think I will do well managing a club. It is not my area of strength. I just love to watch the game but anything that has to do with running it is out of my capacity.
You can have someone in charge to….
(Cut in)I don’t put my money in what I don’t have an understanding of because it makes no sense to me. It is wise to invest in what you have an idea of or something you know you can excel in.
Does your wife like football like you?
Not at all, she doesn’t watch football or any other sport and she has never disturbed me from watching football neither have I disturbed her too. When there are football matches, I go to one room and allow them to watch their programmes too.
How do you relax?
I like to just stay at home with friends and family and go to local restaurants to eat. I like to listen to music and still I watch football. There are times I just choose to travel out of the country when I really need to ease the stress.
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