Nigerian actress, Bianca Ugowanne, is popularly known for her breakthrough role in Dear Affy, which earned her a nomination in the 2021 BON Awards for Revelation of The Year. She talks about her sports life, fondness for Cristiano Ronaldo, Super Eagles and more in this interview with The PUNCH’s PETER AKINBO
What do you do when you are not acting or making movies?
I’m not just an actress. Before anything else, I’m a journalist and a TV host. I’m probably behind the camera or in front of the camera hosting a show or basically just doing my skincare.
Do you engage in sports at all?
Not professionally and not often but yes, I do a little.
While you were growing up, what sport did you participate in?
Truthfully, I’m the lazy type but I remember one time in JSS 2 when I was in Babcock High School, I was asked to run because the person who was supposed to wasn’t able. So, she asked me to partake in the 100m Junior Girls Race. That was the first time I did and I liked it.
So, even though you liked running you didn’t continue with it?
I liked it but it wasn’t like I loved it enough to continue with it. I just liked it because I came third that day and I saw that I could do it. I never practiced it before I came third, so imagine if I had practiced. I liked the fact that I could do it and in secondary school, I ran sometimes around the field but I didn’t continue with running.
What is your favourite sport?
I think it’s football. Football is everybody’s favourite sport and a popular sport.
Which club do you support?
Manchester United. I have been a United fan like forever from Cristiano Ronaldo’s first stint to his second coming. I followed him around from Real Madrid to Juventus. I like him a lot.
If you had a chance to spend a day with Ronaldo, would you?
I’m a Ronaldo fan. So, of course, I’d want to spend the day with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Do you think he’s the best footballer in the world?
Of course, I think he is the best footballer in the world
How did you feel about Manchester United’s performance last season?
I am a Manchester United fan through and through so even if I’m disappointed or I am happy, I will still say that they tried their best and I’m happy with them.
Going into next season, do you think Ronaldo should still be playing almost every game like he did this season?
You’re as old as you think you are and looking at Ronaldo, he is fit enough to play any day and anytime. He has trained himself so much. I think Ronaldo is fit enough to meet up with any challenge, so if you are saying he should play every day or every minute if he can do it, he can do it.
Are you aware the Super Eagles won their last match 10-0?
No. I didn’t actually hear about that. 10-0 is a lot. This is amazing, one for the record. It sounds like something that’s not true. Did they play against children? I’m impressed.
Do you have a favourite player in the Super Eagles team?
I like Alex Iwobi. I remember that there was a time Iwobi was really good around 2018. He was really good and he was the star of the match and that was when I really liked him.
How do you think the Eagles will perform if they qualify for the next AFCON?
I think their performance fluctuates, that’s why I cannot really say. One thing about the Eagles is that one minute they are making it on top of the world and the next you are wondering what’s wrong with this people. You really cannot say with them and that’s why I was so shocked to hear that they played 10-0 against a team. That’s a lot but I’m thinking they would keep up with this performance. But I cannot bet on them because like I said they fluctuate. Consistency is their problem. They are not consistent.
Is there anything you think should be done to make them a more consistent team?
I don’t know what it is actually. The thing is we need to understand why they are not consistent I don’t think we understand it yet. I don’t know if they are dedicated enough, I don’t know if they get frustrated before the match. Whatever it is that they do to them before they win a match, I hope they continue doing it before every other match so they can always give us victory. It’s obvious they know what they are doing. If they can win 10-0 against a team, then they have the capacity to win every other match. We hear of how they are not treating them well and all these things can affect them.
Do you think politics has too much influence on Nigerian football?
Yes, I think so. I believe that politics plays a major role in decision-making in the Nigeria Football Federation because the truth is that there is always somebody there who is not always giving this people what they need, who is not always giving them what they deserve. There’s somebody who is always trying to pocket something. Politics is playing around NFF and that is a very big problem.
Do you think sports can thrive in Nigeria without politics?
No. The truth is, there is no organisation in Nigeria where politics don’t come into play. The government needs to do better just like in every other sector where government is involved because the sports sector is suffering. I’m tired of hearing that these people are not treated well or respected and they go to their clubs and they are treated better. They get to their clubs and perform better and it is because the government is not doing something right. I think government needs to treat them better. It’s our national football team and they need to put us on the map. Football is the biggest sport in the world, so the government needs to use it to give us a good image.
If your children ever wanted to become sportsmen and women, would you support them?
The truth is that I’ve always prayed that my son will be a footballer.
What about a combat sport like boxing?
No please. I don’t think I can handle my son coming back home with a disfigured face. And my daughter knows better than to do that. However, if my son proves to me that he can do it, maybe I could consider him doing it professionally but my daughter, no please. It’s not what I pray for. If it’s football, any of them can be a footballer, I can massage legs very well.
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