Monday 09 December 2019, 15:10

A Nigerian radio host finds his niche where football is king

  • Onyebuchi Ogbogu is a FIFA Fan Movement member from Nigeria

  • The 25-year-old hosts his own football radio show

  • “In Nigeria, football is king”

What is your earliest football memory? It might be the first time you recall kicking around a ball, or the first FIFA World Cup™ you saw live on television.

For Onyebuchi Ogbogu, it's a little different. The FIFA Fan Movement representative from Nigeria was drawn to the beautiful game by watching matches that took place before he could even walk.

“Growing up, my dad was a big sports lover," Ogbogu told "In my family, instead of watching movies, my dad would watch repeats of matches played years ago. He had a compilation of all the goals that were scored at the FIFA World Cup 1994, for example. So of course I watched and have memories from that tournament, especially because it was the first one that Nigeria participated in."

The 25-year-old's passion for the sport and his beloved national team began there and flourished when he witnessed the Super Eagles capture gold at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Atlanta 1996. It remains his favourite moment as a fan.

“That is how my love for football started," he said. "Before I even played the game as a kid in primary school, I was watching these tournaments. The love began with my family, from the grassroots, and I took it from there.”

Maintaining a lifelong bond to the sport and a deep familiarity with Nigeria’s accomplishments on the global stage, Ogbogu’s job as a sports radio host might seem fitting. But before he made his way to Omega 101.7 FM, based in the southeast Nigerian state of Anambra, he had planned to embark on a different path. Ogbogu studied agriculture and animal science at his university, not sports journalism or mass communication.

“I never had in mind that this was what I wanted to do, necessarily,” he said. “I slowly realised it was something I could do. I could speak well to an audience or in front of a camera. My passion drove me.”

Ogbogu gave himself a crash course in sports media studies following graduation, reading as much as he could and earning a place at a local online broadcast news outlet. There he analysed European football and top Nigerian players around the globe. Omega were impressed by his work and brought him on in late 2017.

Learning on the job and on the airwaves, Ogbogu now hosts his own morning drive show. The Fan Movement felt like a natural fit; he joined immediately before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™.

“It’s been an awesome ride,” he said of the experience thus far. “Of course I am outspoken when it comes to my country, and the Fan Movement has given me a platform to show how much passion and love we have for football.”

Though all popular Nigerian sports are fair game on his show, there’s no doubt which one garners the most attention. Once a week, Ogbogu will even host a program exclusively dedicated to football.

“It’s simple,” Ogbogu explained. “In Nigeria, football is king.”