Ahead of the opening group-stage match of UI Pioneers against ABUAD Stars scheduled for Tuesday 9th, July, 2019 at Awo Stadium. The UCJUI Sports Desk had an interview session with the captain of the team Boluwaji Rapheal Agboola. This is what he has to say:
UCJUI: Can we meet you Sir?
Rapheal: Boluwaji Raphael Agboola, 400level Law student of the University of Ibadan.
UCJUI: When did you discover your footballing talent?
Rapheal: It all started when I was a kid. Around age seven, I was in primary four then. It was during a festival in my village, where all the primary schools will come and compete together. Though we did not win but it was obvious that I was good with the ball. And my first team was Real Star FC, Kano.
UCJUI: Give us a rundown of how your footballing sojourn has been from then till date?
Rapheal: After my first appearance at my hometown festival competition, due to family issues, I had to leave Osun to Ekiiti where everything changed. My father is not that interested in football, so whenever they send me on an errand I always join other kids on the street and play football and when I get home, as usual, my father will flog the hell out of me, it got to a stage that my father reported me to my Sunday school teacher and after I had no option but to stop.
After my primary education I got admitted to one of the best secondary school in Ekiti State, Christ Boys school Ado. I joined the school team in my SS1 of which I became the captain in SS2. My greatest achievement back then was to get to the Olasore ten-year anniversary football competition final but we were not allowed to play the final. God knows why. I won two different competitions for my team which includes the Sala Gala Cup.
In my 100L days in UI, I was denied the right to participate in the Interhall football competiton. In my 200L days I was much involved in athletics. And after I won a bronze medal for UI at the West African University game I made up my mind to go back to football. I was part of the team for hifl in 2018. And presently I am part of the team for this year editon of HiFL coming up on the 9,10 and 11 of July.
UCJUI: When did you became the captain of UI Pioneers?
Rapheal: A month ago
UCJUI: How has it been being the captain of the UI team? Giving the fact that there are lots of responsibilities and expectations to shoulder.
Rapheal: To be sincere, everything has been going on smoothly, because we are just one big family full of love from the coaches to the least player. There has not been any special treatment for anybody, we joke, laugh and play together, we all shoulder the responsibilty together and we never play the blame game.
UCJUI: Has there been any moment you feel so bad that you want to quit the team?
Rapheal: Not even once, we have a great coach and who also serves as a father figure for most of us. We have the, NOBODY DIES MENTALITY.
UCJUI: What were your feelings like when your team lost out on qualification into HiFL 2019. And eventually qualified as the best third place team?
Rapheal: We were disappointed at first. Because we gave our all, but luck wasn’t on our side. I remember the coach saying after the match that “we were out, but not down”. Luck located us later on. We were filled with joy. Our joy knows but no boundary.
UCJUI: How prepared is the team for the competition as it’s about to commence?
Rapheal: We’ve been putting in the work. The coach and the players are ready to show the entire nation what the football team of UI is made of. With God on our side we are fully prepared to wow our spectators. We have always been working but at this point I can say let’s begin. We are ready.
UCJUI: What is the projection of the team for this year edition of HiFL having got knocked out at the Round of 32 by OAU in the maiden edition?
Rapheal: To bring the trophy home. We are gunning for nothing less than the gold medal. To show for all the sweats and pains put in.
UCJUI: Are you comfortable with the funding the team is getting from the Sports Council?
Rapheal: Not really because it is not enough but there is room for improvement. We need more encouragement. Most of us play because of the passion we have.
UCJUI: Do you earn allowances as a player of the school team?
UCJUI: What position do you play in the team?
Rapheal: Right Back
UCJUI: Lastly, any word for all footballers and athletes on campus?
Rapheal: To dare is to dream. Never give up. If one can do, you can do. If none can do, you must do. Passion will take you places you have always wanted to be. Keep pushing. We go again. Nobody dies.
UCJUI: Thank you for your time Sir.
Rapheal: You are welcome Sir.
By: Abiodun OYEKANMI [Politikz]