Podcast: Mark our Falcon Words Finale – Q and A with Irvine FC striker Ebube Okoji

Samuel Chacko, Roman Acosta, and Ebube Okoji

Roman Acosta:  Hello, welcome to episode three of Mark our Falcon Words. I’m Roman Acosta.

Ebube Okoji: I’m Ebube Okoji.

Samuel Chacko: I’m Samuel Chacko. Today’s episode will feature a Q and A on the World Cup with the Ebube. And now Ebube, go ahead and tell us your background in soccer.

Ebube Okoji: Uh, I’ve been basically playing soccer my whole life. I was raised up by my uncle and dad who also played soccer, and I kind of took that from them.

I’m currently a left, uh, left-winger, right-winger, striker for Irvine FC.

Roman Acosta: All right. Now can you go ahead and, and tell us from the top of the bat, who are your top three teams?

Ebube Okoji: My top three teams in the World Cup has to be Brazil, France, and Argentina.

Roman Acosta: Mm-hmm. And the way Brazil’s been playing. Can you go ahead and explain more why, uh, Brazil deserves that number one ranking?

Ebube Okoji: Uh, the way they’ve been playing has really been impressing me. So far, they’ve been playing like a good team, a team that has chemistry.

They look shaking the group stage, but after the round of 16, they look like a team that is on a mission.

Samuel Chacko: You have Portugal outside of your top three. Why is that happening? Why is that the case?

Ebube Okoji: Uh, I like Portugal. I like Ronaldo. I’m a big Ronaldo fan, but I don’t think they have that, um, power to at least, win it or make it to the final.

They’ve been playing so good, but I don’t see them making it anywhere near Brazil or France or Argentina.

Roman Acosta: Oh, speaking of, so you’re a Ronaldo fan, can you tell us, or do you really agree with the call of Ronaldo being benched?

Samuel Chacko: Okay. Let’s talk a little bit more about your list. So you. France over England. You have France at second and England on paper here it says you have it fourth. Why do you have France over England?

There’s a lot of crap talk in a sense about England. It’s coming home from a lot of English people. Why do you have France over England?

Ebube Okoji: Okay, first, it’s not coming home. English fans. It has not been home since 1966, but France, they won the World Cup in 2018. England have been trying to win the World Cup since 1966.

But I feel like they have, France has more star power. They have a lot of experience. Yes, it’s a young team with a lot of players missing from injury, but with the way France has been playing and with, they have more confidence than England does.

Roman Acosta: Realistically speaking, who do you think is gonna play in the finals?

Ebube Okoji: I want so many teams to play in the, so in the finals, but a dream final would be Argentina versus Portugal. Ronaldo versus Messi.

We all, I’m pretty sure every soccer fan wants that to happen, but for me, I would also want Portugal in the final, but I think it might be Brazil. versus Portugal in the final.

Samuel Chacko: Okay, So, you talked about some of your hypothetical matchups, but who do you think is gonna win at all (if you had to pay a team)? You go back to the two matchups that you picked, who do you think would win at all in those matchups?

Ebube Okoji: I actually think Portugal might win it. Not because I’m a, not because I’m a Ronaldo fan, but I just feel it might be one of those surprising World Cups. If…

Roman Acosta: So, Portugal is your underdog?

Ebube Okoji: N Actually no. Morocco is the real underdog. The way they’ve been playing.

They played, uh, Spain and they, for them to keep it 0-0 against Spain till penalties show a lot how Morocco’s been playing and the goalkeeper, I don’t really know. Oh, Bounou.

I don’t know if I’m saying that right, but the Moroccan goalkeeper Bounou, he saved two penalties of the penalty shootout, they’re the real underdogs.

Samuel Chacko: Okay. Um, we talked a little bit about Argentina. Um, do you think messy or Ronaldo, or both, will ever play another World Cup again?

They said that they won’t, but do you think they’ll, they’ll change the word on it? Do you think they might turn back on it? What do you think about it?

Ebube Okoji: Ronaldo’s 37. Messi’s 35 Messi. Probably. Ronaldo probably not, but you never know. It’s four years from now. He probably like 30, 41, 39.

Who knows, but if they said they’re, they’re not, then I guess they have to win it.

Samuel Chacko: Do you think that Qatar is a good place to play in the World Cup? Do you think they should have a more neutral stance?

Because again, it’s a lot to deal with religion. It’s not necessarily a political stance that they’re taking. It’s based on their religion. So do you think that was a good option?

Ebube Okoji: Do you that was a good pick for, uh, FIFA to do? No, absolutely not. No Qatar is the worst place to host the world cup. And why would you say that?

You, you kind of agreed a little bit, uh, on where to what the things that they disagree or they. based it off like alcohol, that sort of stuff.

Well, FIFA’s been based on money. We’ve known this for years. But with Qatar hosting the World Cup, I don’t think it was a good idea in the first place.

The World Cup is meant to be hosted in the summer, not in the winter, but that like messes up the players’ schedules too. And the club schedules it.

Right now it’s December, we’re supposed to be playing, uh, club football and watching the Champions League, but we have to be watching the World Cup.

It’s supposed to be so, that should be held in the summer, and Qatar is for me, I don’t mind the plays, but with the way things have been happening in Qatar, I don’t like it there.

Samuel Chacko: Okay, so let’s kind of do a little bit of an underrated and overrated segment. So what was the underrated team, the Cinderella team, that kind of shocked you and the fans?

And what are some of the overrated teams, teams that you did not expect to get out of the, uh, world Cup or the, the Sweet 16 kind of, in a sense?

Ebube Okoji: Morocco, that’s, that’s the dark horse of this World Cup. I would’ve thought it would probably [be] Switzerland.

Switzerland actually surprised me cuz they have some pretty good players with Shaqiri, Xhaka and Akanji.

They didn’t look like a team playing against Portugal. And the team again, that surprised me was Morocco. Their goalkeeper, Bounou, saved two penalties during the shootout and they look like a team who was ready to make a statement.

Samuel Chacko: It might be a little bit too late now, but if there’s anybody who has not been following soccer or not getting into soccer is more, more afraid of getting into soccer because of the fans, whatever the case may be, what advice would you give to them?

How would they, how should they start off? Watching soccer, enjoying soccer, all that sort of stuff, having a favorite team.

Ebube Okoji: Uh, I mean, In terms of watching her playing, watching, you know, go to your local bar. It’s not that hard to find one.

You know, LA Galaxy plays, uh, in Carson here, LAFC.

So I mean, you are always gonna find someone who loves soccer no matter where you go.

So as long as you go to that one place, there’s a, I can’t remember where, but there’s this one area in, in downtown Downey, a huge soccer fans always go there.

So if you want to get into. I suggest go there, find some fans, get, get yourself a jersey. I would say get yourself a Man United Jersey. I’m a Man United fan, by the way, but that’s what I have to say.

Roman Acosta: Right. And to touch up on that, um, you know, uh, usually I’ll watch soccer only when I’m a my uncle’s house, you know, Chivas fan.

But, um, really to help you get into soccer and, um, just comes from someone who’s, uh, Mexican American.

Um, you know, shares both values, I would say growing up I became more of an LA Galaxy fan.

Uh, David Beckham was my favorite player, but, uh, really where you come from.

You could, you know more into your background, your ethnicity. That would be probably my best bet on how you could, uh, become more interested in soccer.

You know, like obviously there are a lot of soccer teams out there. You could find one, uh, pick one from your background, your nation, where you come from and that would be a really good start to support them.

Samuel Chacko: Just wanted to say this, that this is gonna be our final episode, for Talon Marks and, uh, this series, mark, our Falcon Words.

Roman and Ebube are gonna be moving on from here and, um, yeah, it was awesome, having everybody listen to this, all that sort of stuff. Anything you two have to say, this will be your last content [here at Talon Marks]?

Roman Acosta: I wouldn’t say count us out yet. You may be able to hear a podcast with me or Samuel or Ebube in the near future. In the near future doesn’t necessarily have to be Mark our Falcon words.

But for whoever, for whoever may take this over next semester, we wish them the best of luck and as always, we thank you for tuning in and listening to what we have to say.

Ebube?

Samuel Chacko: Anything else final, any final words you have?

Ebube Okoji: I love this podcast. I appreciate everything you guys have. And thank you.

Samuel Chacko: All right.

Roman Acosta: Okay, so I guess with that being said, this concludes our final episode of the semester of Mark our Falcon Words.

We hope to see you next time. Thank you.

Ebube Okoji: Signing out

Samuel Chacko: Peace!