Nollywood actress, Georgina Ibeh, is popularly known for her appearances in hit series ‘This Life’ and ‘Super Story’. She talks about Nigerian sportswomen who won 12 gold medals at the Commonwealth, Cristiano Ronaldo and more in this engaging interview with PETER AKINBO.
Growing up, did you engage in sports?
Not really, I didn’t have that level of interest in it.
What sports do you watch?
I like football, it’s something I can watch and not get bored. I like the fans support, the way they cheer. I laugh at the way some fans get angry with someone they can’t see face-to-face, who does not even know them.
What team do you support?
I am a Chelsea fan.
Why do you like Chelsea?
I started to like Chelsea when Mikel Obi was there, I watched their games a lot and I have been with them since then.
What do you think of Mikel Obi’s performances in the EPL?
Well, I think he was the best Nigerian player in the EPL from all I have seen of him and with his achievements.
Is there anyone that catches your eye in football?
Cristiano Ronaldo. I just think he is cute.
Do you think he is the best player in the world?
Yes, I do. I like how he is passionate about what he does because I am also very passionate about my craft. I also like that he shows a lot of love for his family, I care about family, so, I like how he is very family oriented. He is a cool person.
Would you go on a date with Ronaldo?
On a platonic level, yes, romantically though, no way. I wouldn’t want to have a relationship with a married man.
Who is your best player in the Super Eagles?
I think Ahmed Musa is doing well. Even when he doesn’t score, he makes an assist.
Is there anyone you fancy in the Eagles’ team though?
This guys travel around the world and see different types of women, so, I don’t put my eyes there.
At the World Athletic Championships, only our sportswomen won medals, and in Birmingham at the Commonwealth Games, only the women won gold. What’s your opinion on this?
As you can see, what a man can do, a woman can do better. I feel really good that the women are doing the most these days, it goes a long way to tell you that the girl-child matters. Gone are the days when people will say ‘train the guy’. We women are doing things, even in the family, you’ll see that the girl-child is the one that actually goes the extra mile to ensure that everybody is okay. When the chips are down, when a parent is probably sick, they are always there, so, the girl-child is also a parent. I’m not a feminist; don’t get me wrong, I just feel like both genders are very important and women winning is a flex. I don’t think there’s any special reason causing it. It has to do with grace, it has to do with time, maybe it is now finally the women’s turn. I just think we should all thank God because we are all Nigerians, whether women or men, we are winning. They’re representing us really well, the women are doing it for us; for both the men and the women so it’s a cool thing.
Who is your favourite athlete among all the women that won gold?
I would say all of them, but the one I was super proud of was Tobi (Amusan), she represented Nigeria so well, and I don’t think it was promoted as it should have been. We need this at this time because the country is in a bad state. And we needed something to cheer us up and let us know that it is all going to be well, and she did, she brought it home and gave us that confidence back. She told the world that something good can still come out of Nigeria because we Nigerians are blessed, we just have bad leaders and I believe that will change pretty soon.
Now that we’ve seen how sport unifies the country, would you allow your children participate in sports?
Oh yes, don’t even go there, of course! Honestly, I wouldn’t push them into what they don’t want to do, but from when they are little, they will engage. I need them to be fit because I am a fitness enthusiast. I need them to make themselves proud and the country proud as well, as best as they can. So, yes, from when they are little, I will try and engage them in sports.
With the enthusiasm you’re showing in encouraging your kids, does this mean you regret not going into sports when you were younger?
Yes, because I really wanted to play football, but I did not know how to. My parents were really strict on us when we were little, so we didn’t really engage with a lot of people, a lot of things. So, maybe I could have loved it but there was no interest in it when I was little.
You mentioned you are a fitness enthusiast. How do you keep fit?
I love going to the gym to keep fit and I will encourage fitness in the family. Health is wealth.