I Love Seeing My Opponents' Blood


The traditional sport of Dambe may not be popular in the southern part of the country, but Amoo Usman, who won gold medal for Team Lagos in the 48kg category of the 18th National Sports Festival, told ADEBOBOLA ALAWODE that seeing his opponents’ blood during bouts gives him pleasure

You hail from Ogun State but won a gold medal for Lagos, how did your romance with Dambe started considering the fact that the sport is not popular in this part of the country?

Well, that is a good observation. I grew up in the North, so I started fighting at a very tender age. Regarding the acceptance of the sport in the South, I can say that some athletes from the South are embracing it. One will  discover that those representing states from the North are southerners.

Even if the sport is gaining ground now, what about the followership?

We have a very strong fan base. You’ll find our fans in areas that has a lot of Hausas. We have good fans base in areas such as Ketu, Alabarago and many others in Lagos.

How often are Dambe competitions held?

We hold competitions on our own because we hardly have a platform to show our skills that’s why we resort to staging mushroom events to keep ourselves busy.

How many competitions have you participated in?

I can’t remember now but I’ve traveled to nearly all states in the North to compete against good dambe fighters.

Did your parents support you to participate in Dambe considering the hazard of the sport?

At the initial stage, my parents didn’t want me to feature in Dambe, but after they discovered that I was adamant, both of them left me to have my way.

Your last opponent lost three of his teeth, you must be sad about that?

It was a contest, if he had the chance he would have done this to me. My joy in the ring is when I see blood gushing out from my opponent’s mouth. It gives me pleasure and I love seeing their blood.

How was your growing up like?

As the saying goes ‘quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit’. I would say that it has not been easy coming up but I thank God I’ve been able to forge ahead. After my parents’ refusal to back me up in my bid to become a national champion in Dambe, I told myself that no matter what, I would not relent. I’ve been fending for myself and I thank God today for what I am.

Since when have you been fending for yourself?

It has been close to seven years now. If I’m not mistaken, it should be from year 2005 that  I have been doing some menial jobs to ensure that I don’t get involved in crime and other vices.

What kind of menial jobs do you do?

I work as an assistant driver, (motor boy) for a containerized vehicles that convey goods from the North to Lagos State, and other parts of the country. Because the proceed is not commensurate to the work I do, so I decided to take up Dambe with it.

Apart from the salary not being commensurate with the work I do, the hazards is another factor. If the vehicle develops fault on our way to delivering consignments, it is the motorboy that is left on the highway for days before the vehicle is fixed. If the vehicle is not fixed, one remains there.

Whenever you are not on the road, what do you do?

If we don’t have trips I help the traders carry their wares and I get paid for it. I’m not a lazy man so I always jump at every opportunity to make money that comes my way.

That means you pass the night in motor parks?  

I’m not a street urchin or a thief but I’m just someone that wants to rise to the top with little or no help from anybody, through hard work and prayers. Moreover I’m not the only one as there are  lot of other youths that do same. The country has not been fair to the youths. Some youths on the streets don’t want to remain on the streets, but since there is  no other means to cater for themselves.

Being on the streets exposes one to different people, some with questionable characters, how do you manage to cope?

You are very correct, once you don’t have a roof over your head, you sleep in the midst of people who have no fixed address. Then, you should expect the unexpected. I’m always mindful of the people I work and associate with.

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