Ace Nigerian comedian and CEO of Corporate World Entertainment Limited, Ayo Makun, aka AY, opened up in a recent interview on how he missed out on becoming a professional footballer and his love for EPL side Arsenal
Exert from the interview with JOHNNY EDWARD as gathered by NEWSCASTARS.COM below:
You grew up in Warri, Delta State and you played football and basketball while growing up. At what point did you decide to dump sports for comedy?
I never dumped football or sports. My father flogged football out of me because all he wanted was for me to go to school and be educated as the first son of his seven children. I started very young playing football. I played alongside Wilson Oruma who went on to play for Nigeria at all levels of the national team. We were both teammates at Sharp Shooters and DSC FC back then and everyone thought I was going to turn professional with the way I started. I was getting the goals for my team regularly and we were the talk of the town. So, when it was time to represent Bendel State for the Chris Ogugua Cup in Katsina, my secondary school principal came to beg my father personally for my release, but my father declined his request. Back then people believed that anyone who took to football was either worthless or good-for-nothing. So, my father never encouraged me. If he was alive today the story would be different because football is big now.
Do you think you would have been this rich and famous if you followed your football dreams?
Yes, because even till date, I get compliments for my performance, when I play against the top footballers. I remember during the testimonial match for former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, when he was leaving office. I scored the goal that salvaged a draw in stoppage time for the Nigerian Legends against the African Legends at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
That’s why you always hear legendary goalkeeper Peter Rufai saying ‘hold that boy, no be comedian, na footballer’ (hold that boy, he’s not a comedian, he is a footballer) any time I play against him. At 49, it’s still in me and they know. I think if I had gone professional I’d probably see Jay Jay Okocha and say ‘hey you sit down there I’m not your mate.’ But right now, I’m in a thriving industry which has also given me the opportunity to also mix up with football stars. They are always happy to call me anytime there is an opportunity to play football.
How pleased are you with the Super Eagles since Gernot Rohr took charge five years ago?
He is shaky, sincerely, but all the same I’m a lover of progress. I see in the team new breed of talents, which I’ve always harped on. When you have that young team it is always difficult to get them to give you the desired results instantly. It’s just like what happened with Chelsea last season. They had lot of young players drafted into the team and at the start under Frank Lampard it was not looking good until Thomas Tuchel came in and added some experience in defence and midfield, which helped them become champions of Europe again. I always believe in that sailing order where you need to gravitate from one stage to another. The Eagles coach needs to adopt that. Let’s take it that the Eagles are at that stage where they are going to have these people move us to glory in no time.
As an Arsenal, how pleased are you with their performances in the last decade?
I’m very displeased, completely displeased but like I said I believe in growth. But Arsenal has been lacking depth in the last decade. At the moment I do not see anything. As a matter of fact, I need to see them show some progression, something that will trigger and rebuild my system up again towards believing that they can be champions of England again. But for now I’m blind to Arsenal.
At what point did you lose hope in Arsenal?
At the point where we would succeed in beating the top teams and lose to the weaker ones consistently. It was so disheartening and disappointing for me and that’s how that team dropped off the top to where they are now. But as a Nigerian if you speak of these things, they begin to tell you, you are not passionate about Enyimba and the rest. So, I try to talk less about European football and moreover, it’s a game of football to be enjoyed. As a fan, I will always support Arsenal.