Award-winning life band musician Mujeeb Biobaku, fondly called Alex Bio, opens up on his love for Chelsea and the Super Eagles, in this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD
Growing up, what sport caught your fancy?
I loved playing football right from my youth. I still do till date, when I have the chance with some of my friends at the park here in London. I played as a left-back for my secondary school Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, Ogun State. My teammates used to call me Paulo Maldini while I played for the school team then. I was also part of the school team that reached the playoffs of the renowned Shell Cup competition back then. It was a good channel to discover young players from schools in Ogun State then.
Did you participate in any other sport aside football?
Yes I did. I play tennis as well, but that is when I have the opportunity. It’s not like football that’s easy to gather friends and even onlookers to join a team for a round-robin set of games.
Did your parents discourage you from pursuing a career in sports?
Not really, but they, particularly my mother, were more concerned about me concentrating on my studies. After I graduated from the university, I discovered another part of me, which I love more than sports and opted to follow it and that’s has made me renowned in the entertainment world. Through music, I have been able to express myself more and also give joy and more excitement to my listeners as well. I’m not sure I would have made such big impact if I followed my dream as a footballer, but all the same I give God the glory.
Why did you decide to become a musician?
I noticed it’s what gives me joy and besides I love to entertain people a lot, with the fact that I have a good voice
Will you allow your kids play football?
If that’s what will make them live forever happy, I will 100 per cent. I have a son who trains with the Chelsea youth academy and I hope someday he wears that shirt and win laurels like the other Nigerian players did with the Blues. I love Chelsea a lot and I hope this dream happens.
What’s your take on Chelsea ending in 12th position season and do you think they can bounce back with new coach Mauricio Pochettino?
They were abysmal last season and we all know that. I can’t remember the last time the Blues finished that low in the Premier League. But it’s a new dawn, so let’s hope that Pochettino can achieve what Antonio Conte did with Chelsea in 2016, when he revived the club in his first season in charge. But they need committed players to do that
With the core of the experienced players all gone, do you think this is achievable?
It depends on so many things. If the right selections are made and the players and the coaches are dedicated, Chelsea can get back into the Top 4, but as it is now they are not even close to that. However, they will bounce back. I’m so sure about that. It’s a phase and it will pass. To do that, they need more than talent. The team needs leaders that can take up responsibilities when the going gets tough.
This trend happened with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal as well, so Chelsea will be better this season. It was sad to see the club sell the likes of Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Harvetz and Jorginho to rival teams. Those players are great additions to these teams. I just hope our young players step up this season.
Are you a fan of the Super Eagles?
Of course, I love the Eagles. I’ve been a fan since 1994, when we won the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. I regard that squad as the best Nigerian team ever assembled by any coach. Other teams afterwards have done well at their level but that era was golden. I hope this current squad can go all the way to win the next AFCON in Ivory Coast now that they have qualified.
Who do you think is the best African player of all time?
That’s a tough one. I would say George Weah, but the likes of Abedi Pele, Rabah Madjer, Samuel Eto’o, Jay Jay Okocha are some players that are worthy of that title as well.
In the Eagles squad, who is your favourite player?
At the moment, Victor Osimhen is my favourite. He is the spine of that team and I hope other players can emulate his passion and dedication. What he did for Napoli last season was awesome. It was just unfortunate that he missed the first leg of their quarter-final Champions League game against Milan. He would have made a difference. He is the only world-class player we have in the Eagles currently and we must take good advantage of that each time we play. The fear of Osimhen is the beginning of wisdom for defenders. I also love Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi, but Iwobi needs to be played in his preferred role, which is behind the striker, to excel more with the Eagles.