Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh is a Nigerian football manager and former player, in his active playing career, he played as a midfielder.
When Sunday Oliseh was a young boy kicking a football around the dusty streets of Lagos, he never dreamt he would one day carry the hopes of 170 million people on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
“For my parents growing up, football was taboo and you could understand them because way back then, in Africa, nobody made a living out of playing football,” Oliseh said
Oliseh quickly won over his parents when he earned a contract at local club Julius Berger.
“I remember coming home with my first wages and my father called my brothers and said, ‘Look, your brother is earning way, way more than I earned as an accountant for his first contract,’ ” Oliseh recalls.
He was one of the first Nigerians to play in Belgium, spending four years at RFC Liege before moving to Reggiana in Italy after the 1994 World Cup.
A season in Serie A was followed by a move to FC Cologne in Germany then a sojourn in Holland with Ajax of Amsterdam.
While in the Dutch capital Oliseh would endear himself to the Ajax faithful with his dancing goal celebrations, picking up three trophies.
Oliseh returned to Italy in 1999 for one season with Juventus before moving back to Germany, this time with Borussia Dortmund — winning the Bundesliga title and a runner-up medal in the UEFA Cup.
Each country provided different lessons in football and in life.
Oliseh further said: “Africans need to learn how to start pressurizing the opponents. Football has changed now.
It’s no longer footballs where you pick individuals and expect them to do well,”
it’s about teamwork, team dynamics, team schemes, things that are planned out, how to look at the opponent, how to bring about antidotes to the opponent’s playing star.
“If I was to live without football now, I think I would die — even my kids sometimes are bored because Papa is always watching games.”