Popular Nigerian comedian, Basorge Tariah Jnr, talks about his love for Chelsea, how Arsenal gave his wife heartaches and more in this interview with â€˜â€™TOSIN OLUWALOWO
Are you an active sportsperson?
I am actively and passively involved in sports. I did triple jump when I was in school, but I follow football very passionately.
Why didnâ€™t you take sports as a career?
I didnâ€™t because I saw different sides of life, different talents. I was a triple jumper at the Nigeria University Games, I was a footballer for the University of Port Harcourt team. I was also a long jumper and represented my school and a dancer but I think the urge for the creative industry took the better toll of me and thatâ€™s why I opted for creativity.
Was your reason for snubbing sports due to lack of encouragement?
I only chose the path I had comparative advantage. I would have pursued sports too because I played with Finidi George with the junior team of Nigeria Ports Authority and I was a regular player. In fact, I was the vice-captain when Finidi was in the team. So, I could have followed through too but that was Finidiâ€™s choice, that was where he found comparative advantage. I found mine in creativity because I wanted to go to school, which didnâ€™t have education for sports then. If sports education was popular then, I would probably have done it, I donâ€™t know. Somehow, I found myself in the creative industry because I had a stronger urge there and I wanted to formally study creativity.
Did you follow the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo?
I did, but not actively because I was disappointed about the disqualification of our athletes. One wants to watch its countryâ€™s athletes compete so we can support them.
You said you played football with Finidi George at a point. Do you still keep in touch with him?
â€˜Egbeâ€™ as I call him, is a bird with a long head in my place. We used to call him that name because of the way he ran. Of course, I was close to him, his elder brother Larry George and the whole family. I donâ€™t have his number now, but he and Taribo West, we played together in Port Harcourt, I was the youngest to play the Governorâ€™s Cup way back in 1980.
How do you rate our present Super Eagles?
I think they are very talented, the only thing is that they are not cohesive, they have not learned to depend on each other and use it. Itâ€™s not only cohesion in the style of play, it is also their team spirit, their desire to work for each other and play as a unit.
For someone who has followed football for a long time, what are your best memories of the Super Eagles?
I would say that the days of the great Adokiye Amiesimaka, Segun Odegbami and Muda Lawal were some of my best memories. Of course, the greatest would be when we went far at the 1994 World Cup, that tantalising team, when Rashidi Yekini scored the countryâ€™s first World Cup goal, those were the most brilliant times for me in football. Then, of course, the times when the Golden Eaglets used to make Nigeria proud of, every where you go, every body will want to take pictures with you just because you are a Nigerian, we have lost all of that.
What football club do you support?
Chelsea, I am not a fan, I am a fanatic. My wife is an Arsenal fan, but she has stopped being a Gunners fan because she doesnâ€™t want to be sad anymore. Let me be frank with you, Arsenal had a tradition of playing very beautiful football, but there is something missing like the Super Eagles, the command and the leadership is no longer there. Who (in the team) looks like Thierry Henry or Patrick Viera to you now? Nobody, even the coach (Mikel Arteta). He (Arteta) is brilliant, maybe if you leave him for a long time, something might come out, but Arteta does not have the personality right now to lead such a team. But you can invest in him because he is young. However, I will just say the club should do away with him.
How did you console your wife when she was still an Arsenal fan, when they lose?
Well, the wife is always right, because you need the wife to be right so the home can be calm. So, I would always gave her hope that Arsenal would do better, that she shouldnâ€™t worry, that it was just a small mistake. But she read through me and saw that I was trying to patronise her. Sometimes my wife would almost cry. It hurt me so much. So, one day, I told her to leave the club, she refused, but eventually, she left the club and I told her to join Chelsea. But as a true Arsenal fan, she told me she was going to leave Arsenal but that she wasnâ€™t doing to join Chelsea.
What club does she support now?
She doesnâ€™t support any club again, like a typical Arsenal loser.
How did you celebrate Chelseaâ€™s Champions League win last season?
My first son is a very avid Chelsea fan but he is in Canada. Together we celebrated the victory. I put him on video, then I brought out my grill, grilled fish and chicken, brought out my beer and drank and my wife was envious. My daughter too is a Chelsea fan, thatâ€™s how much of a Chelsea family I have.
One major debates in football is the comparison between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Who would go for?
Ronaldo because he has invested what I think is exemplary for young people. I donâ€™t believe that talent is enough, I believe that discipline is what drives us in everything that we do. In Messiâ€™s case, he is lucky he is ways churning it out. But Ronaldo, apart from his talent, finds humility in training more than every sportsman that I know, he spends more hours in training and for me, thatâ€™s discipline.
Messi joined PSG with all of the other stars in the club. How do you fancy their chances this season?
I think they are going to be a formidable team, but with stars come complications, ego and personality issues. So, I hope that doesnâ€™t work against them. But outside that, they are a bunch of very talented players, but a bunch of talented players do not guaranty success. A bunch of very fit players that are ready to work for each other and donâ€™t have ego will succeed.