Friday, October 7, 2011

Bringing The Stars Closer To the Fans:Nigeria's Florence Kikelomo Ajayi Blazing the Trail In Slovenia

Definitely a legend in Nigeria's women's soccer history,Florence Kikelomo Ajayi is one of Nigeria's versatile female defenders one whose omission from the Nigerian team is still a subject for debate.A former captain of the Super Falcons,Kike aka Mama Yaro is an Olympian and five-time African Women's Championship winner and a FIFA world Cup quarter finalist (1999).Kikelomo has played for Niederkirchen football club in Germany and in China professionally.She granted  Women's Soccer Africa an interview in  our  "Bringing The Stars Closer to Fans" series.

Hello Kikelomo and how are you ?
Fine,thank you

Thanks for granting womenssoccerafrica this interview.

WSA:Tell us a little bit about yourself.

KFA:I'm Kikelomo Florence Ajayi,born in Ondo State  to a family  of  two boys and 4  girls,I am single a Christian and an honest person.I love soccer and I play for ZNK Krka in  Slovenia.

WSA:So at what age did you discover you had the ability to play soccer ?

KFA:Right from Childhood,but it became so obvious at my secondary school level,of which I had to pair and play with boy's team.

WSA:How has the game changed so far as compared to when you started playing ?
KFA:It has changed tremendously compared to when I started,now we have females playing a professionally abroad,parents do urge and support their daughters to take soccer as a profession now,unlike when we started,it was very difficult to convinced your parents,sometimes I have to sneak out through the rear window with my training kits,to avoid my parents knowing,but all that is a history now.

WSA:As a young woman playing soccer, what are some of the challenges you have had to overcome ?

KFA:The challenge of recovering from injuries and the challenge of having to prove my self as a female soccer player time and time again. Playing this game as a woman has always been a challenge.Thank God I have always battled back.

WSA:What career path would you have taken if you were not playing soccer ?

KFA:Mind you,I was a police officer,but i have always been attracted to nursing.I like the nurse's uniform,especially the white uniform and with my kind of personality,I like looking after elderly people and children.So naturally I would have been a nurse.

WSA:What has life been like since you started playing soccer ?

KFA:Pretty good,sports has made me famous,it has also enabled me meet and dine with  very important people and also given me the privilege to represent my country in the African Cup of Nations,Olympics and World Cup,what more can I ask for,God has been so gracious to me through sports.

WSA:Now that you are with Slovenian club ┼ŻNK Krka,what adjustments have you  made in order to get used to the country,your club and life in general ?

KFA:I'm trying to learn the language,make new friends and bond with my team mates,being the only African among them for now,I need to get up to speed with them.

WSA:What are some of the goals you have set for yourself as a professional player ?

KFA:Helping my club to win at the highest laurel especially the UEFA women's champions league,after that,looking forward to how I can give back to my country,especially coaching the younger ones one day,just like what Coach Samson Siasia is doing right now with the Super Eagles.

WSA:What would you say is the happiest and saddest day in your soccer career as a player and why ?

KFA:My happiest day was the day I presented the AWC Cup  to President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004.It was surely a proud achievement for me and my team mates.
My saddest day was when we lost AWC Cup,2008.I still can't get over it.

WSA:Do you have any superstitions or pre-match rituals before a soccer match?

KFA:I don't believe in superstitions,once a team is well prepared and take their chances ,victory will surely come,but sometimes if the officiating is bad,it takes it toll on the teams performances.Personally I just go and give my best so long as my training goes well.

WSA:How do you prepare yourself for matches ?

KFA:I Pray and commit my self to God to favour me on the field of play,to avoid injuries.

WSA:What is the difference between Nigerian and European soccer ?

KFA:The European game is  well organized,players welfare is their topmost priority,but with time Nigerian soccer will get there.

WSA:Which player in your opinion is the most difficult to play against as a defender ?
Kikelomo battles Mia Hamm for the ball

KFA:USA soccer National Team player,a striker by name Mia Hamm,she is very swift and strong.

WSA:Who is your favorite player in men's  and  women's soccer ?

KFA:My Favorite male soccer player is Celestine Babayaro,I played his pattern of football,that is why my teammateS called me Mamayaro. On the women's scene my favorite is Germany's U-20 star Alexandra Popp.

WSA:What are your hobbies and your favorite color(s) ?

KFA:I like watching educative films,Reading and listening to music.My favorite colors are white and blue.

WSA:What is your favorite food ?

KFA:Pounded Yam,Rice and stew.

WSA:What is your favorite kind of music ?

KFA: I love Christian Music and Yoruba Music as well

WSA:If you had the chance to go to dinner with one celebrity, who would that be ?

KFA:Faith Balogun, a Nigerian actress.

WSA:what changes would you like to see in the future of women's soccer in Africa?

KFA:I think the welfare of players will be an area i will like to work on.If the girls are taken care of in regards to their welfare,then the girls will put in their all and we can challenge our European counterparts,we have all it takes. I will change the perception peoplein Africa about the female soccer player.

WSA:Tell us something we do not know about you?

KFA:I'm as simple as you see me,but very discreet,living in my own world.Introverted may be.

WSA:  Will you ever consider returning to the Super Falcons ?

KFA: Of course. I love my country and will give my best whenever i am called upon to discharge my duties in the national team.

WSA:What advice would you like to give to the young girls out there who look up to you for inspiration ?

KFA:I will advice them to be determined and focused,everything is achievable and they should believe in themselves and work hard.

WSA: Thank you very much for your time. It's been a pleasure talking to you.We wish you the best of luck with your new club.

KFA: Thank you.The pleasure is all mine.

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