From wanting to play football to studying law and eventually becoming an entertainer, skit maker cum actor, Oluwatosin Ogunleye, popularly known as Bro Bouche, talks about his love for his favourite team despite the odds in this interview with ABIODUN ADEWALE
Your real identity is hardly known. Who is Bro Bouche?
My name is Ogunleye Oluwatosin Temitope Alabi Promise Paul Alabi. I am from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State but I was born in Ondo State and grew up in Ondo town. I attended Adeyemi College of Education Demonstration Secondary School and. I studied Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University.
How was growing up like and we’re you involved in sporting activities?
Growing up was fun, I had nothing to worry about, so, I played all around like every normal kid; I still play till date. I played football a lot while growing up. I was usually on every street where they played football in Ondo town to play football, and my injuries were a headache for my mother back then. There was a time I even wanted to join Pepsi Football Academy, but my parents were against it. The academy was in Akure and came to Ondo town at some point. I sneaked to participate in their trials at Ondo town then, so when it was time to advance to Akure, it was impossible for me to travel because I was sneaking out to play.
How good were you as a footballer?
I used to play on the wings before I switched to midfield. I was good but I wasn’t the guy that the other guys would wait for before they started a game, because there were lots of good players. I remember one of them, Apiaka, he was so good. So, I was just a normal player who would usually make the best team as well. Except for those who played for their university, not so many of my friends turned out to be pro footballers, for instance, Apiaka is now in the Navy. There is also one guy we called Aguero, he is in one division two club in Spain now.
Which team do you support?
I’m an Arsenal fan and very proud of my team. There is actually no cause for alarm in our current situation. I only feel the title race is now tight and it’s between Arsenal, Man City and Man United. This is like our best season in 10 years, since I’ve been an Arsenal fan, so, I’m excited. We are even going to the Champions League; we’ve not played in the competition in the last seven years. At the start of this season, we weren’t even thinking of topping the table, it just happened and we are embracing it. So, we will continue one game at a time. I got to know about Arsenal in 2004 and it is as a result of my dad’s influence. My dad used to like Thierry Henry and I liked the way they played too. And I used to think Arsene Wenger was the owner of Arsenal because of his name. I started supporting them seriously in 2006.
You must have had your low moments as an Arsenal fan, which one was the most painful?
One of my lowest moments was when we were supposed to win the Europa League against Chelsea. I feel like we played a lot to win but we lost and Olivier Giroud (ex-Arsenal forward) even scored against us. I also remember the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona. We were so close and that made it more painful as well. That is the game that makes people say we can never win the Champions League. And in some seasons that we were hopeful of progressing, we were always going to be drawn against Bayern Munich, Barcelona and other tough teams.
How optimistic are you about Arsenal’s EPL title challenge?
I’m like 70 per cent sure Arsenal can win the title this season, but I won’t be disappointed if we don’t win the league eventually. Trust me, Mikel Arteta is trying. We haven’t played like this in a long time and I feel that if we qualify for the Champions League, we will attract more quality players.
How about the national teams?
I support the national teams, but not as much as I do for Arsenal. I watch their games and I can’t compare the level of disappointment with Arsenal’s. Even if I’m angry, I still watch the Super Eagles, but we couldn’t even qualify for the World Cup and didn’t do well at the Nations Cup.
There is an Arsenal player on loan at Reims in France, Folarin Balogun. How good do you think he can be for Nigeria?
Balogun will be a perfect fit for the Eagles. And we also have the most in-form striker in the world right now, Victor Osimhen, so I believe Balogun will be another good addition for the national team.
Since you lived in Ondo for long, did you ever get to watch or support Sunshine Stars FC of Akure?
I watched Sunshine Stars back then, when I was in Ondo. It was on some rare occasions. For instance, our school might take us there to play and we see the matches. Sometimes I visit some of my friends in Akure and we go to the stadium to watch Sunshine Stars play. I was also in the hostel at some point and sneaked out to watch some of their matches. We were just going to watch for watching sake. Not like we knew any of the players or understood what the season entailed for them, but we enjoyed it. But anytime I watched them, I felt like being on the pitch. It was one of those things that contributed to my passion for football. I really wanted to play football.
You studied Law, how did you begin acting and making skits?
Acting generally is what I have been doing since 200 level. I will say I got popular in school with acting and in 400 level I became serious with movies and I began to go to Lagos for auditions. I was in Jennifer’s Diary, Industreet and I used to shuttle between Ife and Lagos.
For skit making, my relationship with MC Lively (Barrister Mike) goes way back. We met in school and for like 13 years now, has been one of my closest friends.
If you were to pick a team of 11 players from entertainers, who are those that will be in your team?
I’ll pick Wallington Pro as the goalkeeper; he is a filmmaker. I will pick MC Lively and Ayenana as centre-backs. Officer Woos will play at right back and the left-back would be Mkido. I will play defensive midfield; Jimmy the Entertainer will play 10. On the wings, Dike will play seven, Yhemolee will play 11. Shank Comics will play as number nine while Sexy Steel will play as supporting striker. Ozo’s manager, Amamdi will be our coach. I’m sure we should be able to beat any private university team.