Oct 27, 2022
Where are we and why have you taken us to this particular spot?
Right now we are in South East London, Aylesbury estate. We are here because this is where myself, James and the behind the scenes crew grew up playing football, these cages are where the skill was crafted, no football coach, no examples before us, we had to figure it out ourselves. This represents so many people that grew up in council estates and playing football was a way of bringing the community together. It was almost like a safe space in the midst of chaos. It kept us off the streets, who knows what we would have been up to without these cages
While walking around the block, this bench really stood out amongst you and some of the crew. What is the significance of this bench?
In every estate there’s a chill out spot. when we were younger our day to day proceeded from the bench to the cage and back to the bench. That was where we had lunch and dinner most days lol! There are so many memories that were made from hanging out by the bench, Good and bad but I’m grateful to be here to tell the tale.
From starting football in this cage to now playing in stadiums, you’ve all come a long way. How important are these humble beginnings in shaping who you are as a footballer today and overall as men in this world?
You should never forget where you come from, these are the fundamentals that made who you are today and that should never leave you. Did we come from deprived backgrounds? Yes we did and although we did not have much opportunity, it did birth a level of hunger, drive and ambition within us that seemed to be higher than an average 14 year old. We found a way to use that to our advantage and if you look at our culture, the best talent seem to come from the “so called” worst places.
A new generation of players are becoming cultural figures beyond the game. Athletes are taking greater control of their image and are much more involved in their personal brand build off the pitch. Why did you feel a platform such as Baller Talk was needed and how did the idea come about?
We felt like it’s time that we had our own voice, a place where players can own what they say and create your own narrative. Baller Talk is a platform to motivate, inspire and influence a generation of people to be themselves no matter their field of background and to encourage people to be the best version of themselves through real conversations. So now that athletes are more than playing the sport, it’s amazing to see because God may have a bigger purpose for everyone. We can’t just limit that to performances on the field. We always felt like we had more to offer than just that and we found our more. Likewise with players Adebayo Akinfenwa that paved the way for us and Bukayo Saka that has become an icon and continues to raise the bar.
For our collaboration with Ajax, we made a huge point of using this once in a lifetime opportunity to shed light on the multiculturalism of cities we were born out of. How much do you feel multiculturalism has contributed to football in the UK and what would it be without it?
Football is probably the most multicultural sport in London. Us as players take from all different cultures, we want technique like the Spanish, the skills like the Dutch and Brazilians, the heart like the Italians, the IQ like the Germans and the athleticism like the French. Without that influence on us we would be way further back then we are today.
As athletes, you guys spend a lot of your time in performance gear, so I can imagine what you wear off the pitch and away from the training facilities is a liberating chance to express your individualism. Who are your best-dressed footballers?
Medy: "Leroy Sane"
James: "Memphis Depay"
Femi: "Reiss Nelson"