Popular Nigerian rapper, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, better known as Ruggedman, has said that he doesn’t see the Super Eagles winning the ongoing 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Naija News reports that the AFCON tournament commenced on Saturday, January 13, 2024, with the inaugural match featuring the host country Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) against Guinea Bissau at Alassane Ouattara stadium.
Nigeria is expected to play their first match of the tournament at 3 PM today against Equatorial Guinea.
However, Ruggedman has expressed doubt about the Super Eagles winning their fourth AFCON title this year.
The 50-year-old entertainer poured out his heart while speaking about his admiration for football, Super Eagles, Manchester United, Victor Osimhen, and more, during a recent interview with The PUNCH.
Speaking on his favourite sport growing up as a child, Ruggedman said: “Growing up, like most young kids across Nigeria, I enjoyed and still enjoy football. I love playing football. I also represented my secondary school in a relay race once but it obviously was not my calling.”
On whether his parents were a discouraging factor from pursuing a career in sports, Ruggedman said: “They did not need to discourage me because I did not take up any sport as a career.
“I was and I still am very passionate about football. I grew up reading football comic books like Roy Of The Rovers. I became a football lover in the early 1980s from watching “Big League Soccer.”
Speaking on his journey into the entertainment industry, he said: “From a very young age, I just loved music. Growing up, I was more into music shows on TV like Top of The Pops, Soul Train and Kessingsheen Hit Show.”
I Hope They Do But I Doubt Super Eagles Winning AFCON
When asked whether he is a fan of the Nigerian National Football team, Ruggedman answered in the affirmative.
However, he downplayed their possibility of winning the tournament, saying: “As a Nigerian, yes I think they can win it but realistically and with the way we seem to have lost a couple of warm-up matches towards the competition, coupled with the history of politics being played in players selection, I do not see us winning it. I hope we do, but we all know games are not won by hoping.”
Announcing his pick on best African player of all time, the singer said: “I know some will argue that I might be choosing him because he is Nigerian. Some will say he did not win much during his time playing, but I choose Jay Jay Okocha any time, any day. To me, he is the most naturally skilled footballer I have ever seen.”
Osimhen Is My Favourite
Ruggedman, during the interview, picked Napoli’s striker as his favourite player in the Super Eagles squad, Naija News reports.
He said: “My friend, Victor Osimhen. Not just because we are friends, but his stats speak for him. He has achieved a lot as a footballer, broke our jinx and won the African Best Player award, which Okocha didn’t even win, and what he did last season in the Serie A is phenomenal.”
On his opinion on whether the male and female national teams should earn the same, he said: “I believe they should be paid their value.”
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