He started playing football when he was a kid in Imota, Ikorodu. Today, he plays professionally for Ikorodu City FC. Paul Ogunkoya, in this interview with Efosa Taiwo speaks on his footballing career and aspirations.
Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up and how you started playing football?
I’m an indigene of Ikorodu, Imota to be precise, and I started playing football when I was very little.
What was your family support like while growing up with the ambition to be a footballer?
My parents were very much in support of my career. They’ve always been trying their best for me to make it to the top, and I solely believe it’s happening soon by God’s grace.
Growing up liking and playing football as a kid will almost mean you have a favorite clubside, which is your favorite club?
Yeah. I support Real Madrid. Chelsea is my second club.
Why Real Madrid?
I just love their pattern of play, and I choose to support them because of Cristiano.
Growing up, who were your role models?
I love Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane
Let’s go down your footballing career, I know you played for Nilayo FC, was that where you started?
No. I have played for Giant Brillars, then to Nilayo and now Ikorodu City FC. But before Giant Brillars, I had played for some amateur clubs.
Your stint in Ikorodu City FC started a few months ago, and you have made such a resounding statement in the club. You have scored three goals in a row, and provided two assists. How has the experience been like playing for the Ikorodu side, especially knowing it is your hometown club?
Yeah. It’s been good being here. My coaches and my teammates, they are all amazing people. It’s been love since I joined the team.
How would you describe the season that is gradually coming to an end?
Well, how I wish I started the season with the club, but it’s not been a bad performance from the team and I’m sure we’re staying in the league.
If you recall, there was a time recently the team was on a bad patch of form, losing games both home and away. What was the feeling like in the team and how were you guys able to get yourself back to winning mode?
We were not happy about it, so we talked to each other about making progress on the table. Everybody summoned courage, did extra job, and we overcame the storm.
Any best friend in the team?
Yes. Salami Farouk. A striker just like me.
You did the knee-slide celebration when you scored a goal recently, we rarely see that in Nigeria, how long did you practice it?
(Smiles) I have not been practicing that. I’m just a stunt person. I was really happy scoring that winning goal, and it came to my head to do a knee-slide.
You are also very good with back-flips, did you learn that specifically for goal celebrations?
Yes, with my brother when we were still kids. It’s been long.
How would you describe Coach Obafemi?
He’s been a wonderful man, coach and a father to me. He encourages me when it’s needed and he plays me in every game. I love him.
What’s the next big thing you are looking forward to in your career?
To play, win trophies and major awards in Europe.
Any dream club you will like to play for?
That will be Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Lastly, any unforgettable experience as a footballer?
There are lots memories I will never forget. One is, my brother and I both playing for the school team, and some clubsides, including Giant Brillars. It’s a pleasure seeing him play alongside me on the pitch. Second is scoring the winning goal for Ikorodu city against J’atete to secure the club the first away win of the season. Then third, scoring 8 goals in 2 games when I was a kid in an U-13 tournament.
His was one of my best player then in secondary school
More winning Ogunkoya Paul.. I love u