Rio Ferdinand was purring about Nigerian when it was first announced that he was visiting again for a series of brand activation activities for a beer brand.
Ferdinand had visited Nigeria twice before that January 2020 but he couldn’t wait to be in Lagos again.
“The last time I came to Lagos, it was such a vibrant city man,” the former defender said in a video shared on his Twitter.
“Lagos, there is so much going on, there is so much going on, there are so many people and most importantly everyone loves football.”
But way before he visited Nigeria, the former defender had been connected to the Nigerian from his budding years in Peckham, London.
Ferdinand in an interview with Pulse Sports revealed that he grew up with lots of Nigerian friends in Peckham and had known about the country long before he visited.
“I grew up with a lot of Nigerian friends in Peckham so I knew a lot about the culture before I visited,” the ex-England international said.
“The food, the attitude, I love it.”
Ferdinand continues to be in love with the Nigerian culture and currently, Jollof Rice, Afrobeats are among his favourites.
“Nigerian music is very popular in the UK now and I love it, I listen to a lot of Nigerian artists,” he said.
Favourite Nigerian player
Nigeria is a football-mad country and the ex-Premier League star has long been following the talents from this side of the world.
“I loved the 94 World Cup team but individually (Austin) Jay-Jay Okocha is my favourite Nigerian footballer,” Ferdinand said.
“Obviously from his Bolton days, he came to England and was very good for like two years.
“I have respect for Nigerian players like Sunday Oliseh, Rashidi Yekini, Kanu Nwankwo.”
In Ferdinand’s first visit to Nigeria in 2018, he was given a chieftaincy title by the traditional ruler of Lagos, King Rilwan Akiolu who bestowed on him the title of Chief ‘Fiwagboye’ which means ‘character maketh wealth.’
For the 41-year-old, that title means so much to him and the Nigerian friends he grew up with.
”I remember one of my boys hit me and was very excited about, I was happy with that,” the Manchester United legend said.