No regrets snubbing sports for entertainment — Eku Edewor
Eku Edewor, a British-Nigerian actress, TV presenter and model talks about her passion for sports, racism and more, in this interview with ANTHONY NLEBEM
Were you involved in sporting activities growing up?
I was involved in sports in my primary and secondary school days. I was very active in school sports. I had the 100m athletics indoor record and the long jump record in my secondary school. I also played football and was part of my school team in England.
Looking at how much sportsmen and women earn these days, do you regret not pursuing a career in sports?
I do not have any regrets about not taking a career in sports. I don’t think I have the discipline for being an athlete. It takes a lot of dedication and hours of training and this takes a lot on the body. It’s very physically demanding and I just did not see myself in that type of career. My sister tried to encourage me to, but I couldn’t cope with the rigorous daily trainings. You have to be extremely dedicated if you want to become a successful athlete.
Which female Nigerian athlete do you admire?
The world champion. Tobi Amusan. I am really impressed by the standard that she is competing at and for the fact that she was able to improve on her time; and she keeps getting better. It’s extraordinary to do that because a lot of times when you are competing against world-class athletes that have access to better training, for you to come out on top is even more impressive.
As a British-Nigerian, if Nigeria is paying against England, which team will you support?
I will definitely be supporting the Nigerian team, even though I am half British. I was actually raised in Nigeria and I have lots of national pride as regards Nigeria because the country has so much of my identity. I will always be a Nigerian fan.
Are you a big fan of Nigerian football?
I only follow football when Nigeria is playing at the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations, I don’t follow the Nigerian league. I am not a staunch football fan so to speak, but I played for my school team. I grew up in Nigeria and football was just a big part of our culture. I was in the girl’s team. One of my uncles owned a football team when we were younger. I do not have that burning interest in football like you see some fans crying when their team loses.
Which Nigerian footballer do you admire most?
When we were younger everybody knew some of the big names in the Super Eagles like Nwankwo Kanu and Daniel Amokachi and they were national heroes. I am also impressed when I see young Nigerian talents that get picked up by foreign clubs, obviously, it’s a way of bettering their lives.
What’s your opinion of racism in sports?
I found that really disappointing because the whole point of the sporting scene is an equal training field that gives opportunities to everybody on the same level. No matter where you come from or your background, you are competing on an equal level. It is really disheartening that racism comes into it because that energy can affect the moral of the players that have to go and do their best and as a result, you are undercutting their spirit. Also, racism makes it an unfair playing field for those who have been abused by putting so much negativity on their minds. There is no place for racism in sports and it is really disappointing that these days people are sore losers.
How do you feel about male footballers earning more than their female counterparts?
The men’s football league generates a lot more money and contributes a lot of finances to the GDP of whichever country that it is operating from. So, I think the players should be valued against how much the league can afford. I definitely don’t think the female players should be underpaid. The men’s league makes so more money than the women’s, so it’s more about reviewing the pay and encouraging more people to support women’s football and build it until it gets to the point where they make more money, then the players can start demanding equal pay. I don’t think it’s comparable, the demand for each is very different.
If any of your children chose sports, would you support them?
I will support any of my children who wants to pick a career in sports if they have a strong passion for it. I encourage sports in schools because I do think that it’s a great lesson for learning that life is not fair and you are not going to win every time and it also teaches you to work as a team. Every type of sport is seen as a viable career, so you do not have to be a certain type of athlete anymore to be successful and you can find successed in different sports. And I can be a nice manager.
What influenced your decision in your career path?
I have always wanted to be an actress and I primarily produce and act in films. I have always wanted to act since I was a child growing up in Nigeria. I have an interest in movies and wanted to be involved in entertainment and I took any opportunity that came up that would expose me to the entertainment industry. That is how I got into modelling and TV shows.
Do you still participate in sports sometimes?
Yes, I do some workouts and go to the gym.