By Monsurah Olatunji
Nigeria international Ngosi Okobi-Okeoghene is determined to make up for every second of the marital life she missed due to club and national duties.
The 26-year-old represented Nigeria twice at the U17 Women’s World Cup [2008 and 2010], once at the U20 Women’s World Cup in 2012 and thrice at the senior Women’s World Cup [2011, 2015 and 2019], winning four African Women’s Cup of Nations title in last 12 years stint in green-white-green.
The Eskilstuna United of Sweden midfielder, who tied the knot with her real estate mogul sweetheart Ahmed Okeoghene on December 9, 2017, hints about plans to dump football to fulfill her marital duties as a woman.
In celebration of the 2020 International Women’s Day, Okobi, who won Nigeria Women’s Footballer of the Year at the 2015 Nigeria Sports Award, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent Monsurah Olatunji shared her two-years marital journey of combining her love life and football.
Monsurah Olatunji: How do you meet the love of your life?
Ngosi Okobi-Okeoghene: I met him on social media ‘Badoo precisely’ then I was in the national camp with the Super Falcons preparing for a friendly game in Korea, he was the second guy who chatted me. I was in a relationship so I never gave him attention.
Later on, we exchanged numbers, kept on talking on the phone. Then he asked me to go off the platform saying ‘your kind is not supposed to be on this Badoo platform’.
I felt special (smiles) and actually deleted the app from my phone, we became used to each other, that we became very good friends, he succeeded taking me away from my ex (laugh) because I started seeing him as my confidant. That was how we started dating.
MO: How was your courtship with him?
NOO: We got engaged in 2015, separated 2016 due to my mistake (can’t share with you) but finally at the end of 2016 season, we made up and finally got married 2017. I can say that was my best decision.
MO: Was there at any point your husband wanted you to quit playing football to focus on your relationship?
NOO: “No no no, not at all rather he has been my strength since I met him, my P.A precisely.”
MO: How has football affected your love life?
NOO: Football has never affected my love life in any way, we already set a goal for ourselves.
Just a normal missing especially now that the weather is really cold here, I needed him to cuddle me at least just to stay warm (smiles). I’ve always found a way to visit at least once or twice in a season, especially when we have an assignment with the national team. I miss him a lot.
MO: Considering Africa societal belief on wife duty, how do you balance being a marital role and daughter-in-law with being an active player?
NOO: I’ll start by saying ‘Marriage is an acceptance’, a total acceptance of another’s life.
My husband already accepted me and my career even before we got married.
Like I said we already set a goal for us. We got married to each other, not to in-laws, no in-law can or will put us on our toes all in the name of that mentality of our Africa societal belief, my husband is okay with my wife duty and I am okay with his duty as a husband.
MO: Do you see yourself playing for the next 5-7 years before considering retirement?
NOO: My husband sees that, but I don’t. Yes, I love football and also love children, I’ve given so much attention to football, very soon I’ll have to sacrifice football for my kids to come so I am planning towards that soon so I don’t think there’s still 5yrs more, NO.
MO: What is the effect of marriage on your football life?
NOO; For me, my marriage has always been a thing of joy to me, a role I accepted in addition to my career.
Yes, there have been ups and downs but never regretted getting married why because I married the best man for me (so understanding), my best friend. My marriage is my strength and also a blessing in my career.
MO: What is your love and football advice for the younger generations?
NOO: It’s fun to be married and also be a footballer, yes my parents and siblings are so proud and happy they have someone out there in the public that makes them proud, but being married is special when you have a husband like mine who never knew the position of a goalkeeper before we met, it’s the best Love and Football life to live.