Nigerian rapper Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, has voiced skepticism about the Super Eagles securing victory in the ongoing 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON). The AFCON tournament kicked off on January 13, 2024, with Nigeria scheduled to play their first match against Equatorial Guinea.
In an interview with The PUNCH, the 50-year-old entertainer shared his admiration for football, discussing his favorite sport growing up and his journey into the entertainment industry. Ruggedman expressed his passion for football, citing childhood influences such as football comic books and television shows like “Big League Soccer.”
When asked about his stance on the Super Eagles’ chances at AFCON, Ruggedman acknowledged his support for the Nigerian national team but cast doubt on their winning prospects. He mentioned recent warm-up match losses and concerns about political influences in player selection, stating, “Realistically, I do not see us winning it. I hope we do, but we all know games are not won by hoping.”
On the topic of the best African player of all time, Ruggedman named Jay Jay Okocha as his choice, emphasizing Okocha’s natural skill. He also revealed Napoli’s striker, Victor Osimhen, as his favorite player in the current Super Eagles squad, praising Osimhen’s achievements and recognition as the African Best Player.
Regarding equal pay for male and female national teams, Ruggedman expressed his belief that both teams should be paid their value. The rapper shared insights into his love for music and its role in his entertainment career, reflecting on his early exposure to music shows on TV.
As the Super Eagles embark on their AFCON journey, Ruggedman’s comments add an interesting perspective to the hopes and expectations surrounding Nigeria’s performance in the prestigious football tournament.