Hip Hop meets Football: Nigerian rapper Cyrus tha Virus talks Super Eagles, Brazil 2014 with us.

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Thanks for having this interview with us, Cyrus. Can I call you Cyrus or do I have to say the whole thing like ‘A Pimp Named Slickback’?

A: *Laughs uncontrollably* Nah! Its cool, Cyrus The Virus or just Cyrus is very cool with me. Or you can call me Cyrus Carlos because my favorite player ever is still Roberto Carlos. *Resumes laughing*

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 How long have you been following Sportive? How reliable is it to you?

A: Wow! It’s been quite a while! I think they were one of the first sports accounts I followed. They always seemed to be in the know of things, you know, first hand information on what’s happening in the sports sphere. I can actually vouch that Sportive is VERY VERY reliable and every morning, when I wake up, I usually go through your blog to see what the latest is in sports around the world.

Should we expect a shout out/name drop in one of your upcoming songs? Ha ha.

A: DEFINITELY! Everyone does it. Jay Z does it with the Basquiat, money references, so why not drop a line with Sportive in it? They’re cool people and if I can put my beloved Manchester United in a line, why not Sportive? The Sportive name is solidified in authenticity. So, expect it soon! Haha!

Nigeria’s 23-man 2014 World Cup list dropped the other day and you had some pretty strong views about it which you shared with us via Twitter. Could you kindly relay your message to other football fans out there? What were you not happy about?

 A: Oh wow! Where do I begin from? Oh well, here goes: JOSEPH YOBO SHOULDNT HAVE BEEN IN THE 23-MAN LIST TO BRAZIL 2014! What is Yobo doing there? We all know Yobo lost his form and combative defensive ability in 2002! Dude even retired, why is he back? Being in defense for Nigeria has been giving a lot of Nigerians heart palpitations! He is shaky, unsettled, hormonal. Yobo in his prime was SOLID but now, we all know, he CANNOT hold attackers like Messi, Dzeko, Balotelli, Higuain, and the other fine strikers out there. I feel he shouldn’t have been included in the final list. John Ogu should’ve been included instead of him. Yobo has no business in this team. Just like the way, when he was left out of the Nations Cup proceedings, Oboabona, Omeruo and co gelled perfectly. If your team cannot trust its defense to hold out the forte, it will be hard to have the confidence to build up play to produce goals. Yobo’s marshalled defence is making Enyeama look like an average keeper! Exposing him to barrage of attacks from even unworthy strikers, like Altidore! I don’t know what Stephen Keshi is thinking, but keshi knows best.

Who should and shouldn’t have made the squad and why?

A: Everybody knows these players shouldn’t have made the cut: Joseph Yobo, Babatunde, Uchebo. Uchebo seems combative and can get in tackles. I think for his height, stature he can be a good central Defensive Midfielder but I was shocked to find out he was a striker. Babatunde has been very below par. Players that should’ve made the cut: Uzoenyi (who by some stroke of luck, due to Injury to Elderson Echiejile (damn!), FINALLY made the cut.) Uzoenyi deserved to be there on merit, in the first place. Also, instead of Ameobi, strikers like Nsofor and either Ike Uche or Brown Ideye should’ve made the cut. Nigerians don’t like Brown Ideye, because he doesn’t score goals for his country, but you can’t deny that he’s off the ball running, strategic placement and even final touches ALWAYS finds Emenike. Ideye & Emenike are a symbiotic pair. They always worked even when Ideye wasn’t scoring. Watch the ANC matches again. Ideye who is tall and strong, always drew defenders to create a chance for Emenike to do the damage. That pair should’ve been harnessed. We also miss Obinna Nsofor. One of the few who know how to score freekicks and take a hell of a bullet shot from anywhere. Nsofor is strong, can muscle defenders and take on defenses. As you can see, the preparatory matches for the world cup haven’t been very penetrative, attack-wise for Nigeria. We lack that striker that can bulldoze his way in, a man that can create something out of nothing. People like Obinna Nsofor, Ike Uche and Sunday Mba whose omission shocked the nation, and don’t give me that late to camp story I’m hearing. He can be punished in other ways! These are players that can ignite a team from out of nowhere or nothing. Sunday Mba’s antics have proven he isn’t scared to go at players and his ANC winning goal is testament. We all watch Ike Uche every time, he’s a brave lad. We need player who can say “Okay, the team isn’t going to do this? I will do this!” If you’ve noticed, whenever Mikel and Moses have a bad day, Nigeria plays poorly. We need a player who can take on that responsibility and raise the team.

Is there anything that you liked about the squad? If yes, what is it?

A: YES!! ENYEAMA THE GREAT!! With him in the posts, it doesn’t always matter whether we win or lose. He always gives us 200%. He’s the soul of the team. Then I love how Oboabona and Omeruo pair up. Again, get rid of Yobo. I hope Omeruo gets back before our first match. I love How Elderson echejile plays. He’s confident, overlaps beautifully, backtracks, and rarely makes mistakes. Efe Ambrose is good too, but I wonder why coach Keshi plays him at Right Back when he plays Central Defense for Celtic. Then my favorite player after Enyeama is Ogenyi Onazi. He’s the battle unit in the centre – covers up a lot of Mikel’s ball-losing abilities. Yup, Mikel loses the ball a lot! Onazi has fierce shots, he is combative, plays with passion and soul – reminds me of Gennaro Gattuso, the old Italian legend and Edgar Davids of Holland. I also love how Keshi called back Osaze Odemwingie, but Osaze needs to step up or he’ll have to make way, to let Ahmed Musa be locating the heavens with his shockingly bad crossing. *Laughs*

Now that you have seen the squad, how far do you think Nigeria will go in the World Cup? Before the squad came out, how far did you think Nigeria would come?

A: I’m Nigerian, so I’d say “We shall win the World Cup!!!” *Laughs* But realistically, until I watch the first match, I can’t really say. If we can beat Dzeko and his boys, then try and grab three points against Iran, I will judge the readiness of this team by how we play against Argentina. If I were to go out on a limb, I’d say it’s expected that we make the next round and then we take it one day at a time. So, Round 2 is my guess. If we can get to Round 2, anything is possible, because all the teams will be under pressure to qualify for Quarter Finals and pressure produces some amazing results in the World Cup. Which brings me to the last question: THIS is where we need players who can create something out of nothing.

Predict Nigeria’s scorelines from their first group game up till the stage in which you expect them to exit the World Cup.

A: Nigeria Vs Bosnia: 2-1

Nigerian Vs Iran: 3: 2

Nigeria V Argentina: 1:3 or 1: 4

2nd Round: Nigeria V 2nd Round Opponent: 2:1

QuaterFinal: Nigeria V Q/Final Opponet: 0: 3

A lot of people have argued that U-17 World Cup winning goalie, Dele Alampasu, should have been invited ahead of Chigozie Agbim. Do you agree?

A: Yes. I’m with that train of thought. Agbim is a disaster of a goalie. Luckily or unluckily, he might not get a chance to keep the posts in the World Cup, except his village native doctore puts juju on Enyeama or Ejide. *Laughs* Agbim is a hormonal keeper, and trust me, with the kind of football talent that the World Cup brings, a good midfielder can chip him from 40 yards. Alampasu should’ve been called up. He is the future. Let’s help him grow by continuously exposing him to the big tournaments and stages. Please, where is Dele Aiyenugba? He is good too.

Give us your exclusive Super Eagles squad to Brazil (Doesn’t necessarily have to have been included in the original 30-man list)

A:

  1. Enyeama
  2. Ambrose
  3. Echiejile
  4. Omeruo
  5. Oboabona
  6. Onazi
  7. Odewmingie
  8. Ideye
  9. Emenike
  10. Mikel Obi

Subs: Aiyenugba, Mba, Igiebor, Nsofor, Uche, John Ogu

Before Nigeria’s game against Scotland, there were reports of attempts to fix the game and during the game, no. 2 Super Eagles goalie, Austin Ejide, appeared to fling the ball into his own net during a set piece and Nigeria also conceded an own goal. Do you think these events are or were related?

A: I can’t really say one thing let my oga at the top say another. *Laughs* I never took notice of the mistake during match game play but when I saw the replay, wow. I don’t know. I don’t really know, but that guy flung that ball towards his goal sha. Hopefully it’s a coincidence and not a ploy to fix the match. And why would anyone want to fix a friendly? It beats all reasoning. Enjoy football, bet legally, but don’t fix matches to win bets. It kills the noble game!

Looking at the World Cup groups, who do you tip to progress to the Round of 16?

A: 1. Brazil

  1. Croatia
  2. Holland
  3. Spain
  4. Japan
  5. Cote D’ivoire
  6. England
  7. Italy
  8. France
  9. Ecuador
  10. Argentina
  11. Nigeria
  12. Germany
  13. Ghana
  14. Belgium
  15. Russia

  afcon

You being a rapper, I think you’d agree that the music industry or the rap game is just like football in many ways. Last year, you had a strictly rap beef with fellow rapper, Yung6ix. What was that about?

  1. Awwwwwww mannnnnn!!! I can never escape this question wherever I turn to! *Laughs* Okay, picture me as Mourinho, and Yung6ix as Arsene Wenger. It’s just a game of wits and jibes and all. Football is similar to rap in its combative, competitive spirit. We both went at it, as rappers should, with the best we got. And it will be worthy to note that the “beef” was the most talked about topic in the South-South rap region. Its healthy competition, it’s allowed in hip-hop just as it’s allowed between Mourinho and Arsene Wenger before Chelsea and Arsenal clash. I’m a Manchester United fan by the way, and I can’t use David Moyes as a reference point, and Sir Alex Ferguson is too larger-than-life to be called into any comparison.

 

Speaking of the game, you haven’t been popping up as much as you did last year. What have you been up to? Are you taking a break? Retired? What’s up? Any new projects or tracks we should look out for?

  1. YESSS BOSS!!! I took some time away to reorientate my music and the shape I want it to assume. I have been a way for some months and since then, the South South hasn’t been popping (No lies!) I’ve been working both musically and outside music. I was going to put out a mixtape this year, VIROLOGY, but as I kept recording, the mixtape began to assume an album shape and me and my team, The A.R.R.O.W Gang, decided to turn it into an album, INFECTION 2, because I dropped Infection 1 a while back. See? That’s first time first-hand information I just dropped on Sportive! Nobody has this info right now! It’s going to be the same energetic Cyrus but in a more eclectic form. Some surprise tracks here and there. But trust me, INFECTION 2, will be the talk of the South-South when it drops, tentatively, July. A lead video is already being shot. We just wanna hit them hard, as we usually do.

You know I won’t let you go without you telling us who you think will win the World Cup.

 

  1. SPAIN. It MIGHT BE Germany’s year. And also I think Belgium is going to make the semi finals. They have the best team – battle unit wise. Nobody is a megastar, they’re playing with respect for each other, and I think Belgium will be the team I end up supporting, after Nigeria, but Brazil isn’t winning this.

Thanks for sitting this interview through with us, Cyrus! We hope to hear more from you as time goes on.

  1. Thanks for having me! It’s an honor to be on your platform. Keep bringing us the freshest news in the sports world. Shouout to the whole Sportive Team, you all are doing an AMAZING job! Keeping us informed. AHOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

Cyrus’s WORLD CUP PLAYLIST

  1. C.N.N feat M.O.P – Stomp You
  2. Ricky Martin – Cup Of Life
  3. Solidstar – Super Eagles
  4. Shakira feat. Freshlyground – Waka Waka
  5. DMX – Ruff Ryders Anthem
  6. Queen – We Are The Champions
  7. Cyrus Tha Virus – All At The Same time
  8. Eminem – Lose Yourself
  9. M.O.P – Ante Up
  10. Alicia Keys feat. Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell – It’s on again
  11. Pharell – Happy
  12. D’Prince – One step At A Time

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