5th November, 2012
To many people in Nigeria, playing basketball in the country is not a lucrative venture but for the fun of it. But for Kayode Balogun, a graduate of Sathyabama University in Channai, India, playing the ‘slam and dunk’ game has brought him money, education and fame.In this interview, Balogun talks about how he fell in love with the sport and his experience in the Nigerian league.
How are you looking forward to the upcoming season?
Well, just like other players in the domestic league, all I could do is to wait for the new season to commence.
You mean there is no pre-season games for you to keep yourself busy before the league starts in January?
Unfortunately, there is none except the just concluded Lagos City league. It has been like that since I started playing in the league about six years ago. After the end of every regular season, we would have to wait for the next league season without any tourney organised for the off-season period, which many atimes last for months.
How does this affect you during the season?
It affects us a lot in terms of fitness level and form. But in order to avoid that, many of us would go to Dubai and other North African countries to play for couples of months during the off season. And many players have had offers through such opportunities.
How was it like when you started playing basketball?
Actually, it was my brother Lanre Balogun who made fell in love with basketball. Though he is now a coach in the United Kingdon but I always fell in love with his mode of dressing back then, that really motivated me to want to play basketball. It was coach Alabi Adelanwa who actually taught me how to play the game when I used to come to the stadium to play football and to help my mother to sell food in the stadium back then.
Do you have any regrets dumping football for basketball?
Not at all! Basketball has brought me everything I have today. I never thought I would be able to go to school abroad, but it was through basketball that I was able to attend the Sathyabama University in Channai, India for my university education.
Through basketball, I have also been a household name in this country
What is your future ambition?
My ambition is to play for the senior national team, having represented Nigeria at the junior level. Also, I hope to play abroad in the nearest future having played for the Lagos Islanders, Dodan Warriors and Union Bank clubs in the domestic league.
You were part of the Union Bank team that finished third in the just concluded Lagos City league. Is that an indication you would play for them next season?
Hopefully, I would be playing for them when the season starts in January. They have indicated to me that they like how I play and presently, is not likely I would be playing for Dodan Warriors next season because my contract with them has expired and they have not shown any interest that they still need me to play for them next season. My fingers are crossed.