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‘I used to carry Sunday Oliseh’s boots to the pitch for him’

Daily Trust: Growing up, what kind of elder brother would you say Sunday Oliseh was? Tessy Oliseh Ohimai: He was tough, strong-willed and a no-nonsense…

Daily Trust: Growing up, what kind of elder brother would you say Sunday Oliseh was?

Tessy Oliseh Ohimai: He was tough, strong-willed and a no-nonsense person. He’s always had the determination to work hard and become successful at what he was doing and that’s why we are not surprised he has come this far in his career. He’s really generous, and likes making positive impact on people’s lives. 

DT: As a sister, what part of your childhood with him do you miss the most?

Tessy: I remember I used to carry his boots for him to the football pitch when he was training with his friends around the neighbourhood. I was actually very young at that time and the gap between us is really wide. I’m the last in the family and there are like three other guys who were ahead of me. 

DT: Given your age gap, what phrase did your brother toss at you when you’re being naughty? 

Tessy: ‘Sit down there!’ (laughter)

DT: Which of his personality traits do you think you have taken after?

Tessy: Discipline and straightforwardness. My brother says it the way it is. He dislikes double-sided people. He knows you or he doesn’t; he is always straightforward in his dealings and I think I took a lot after him in this regard. 

 DT: Being his sister, is there pressure to always live up to the name ‘Oliseh’?

Tessy: Not really. I have chosen a different path. He’s a footballer, I’m a fashion designer. Although, having a brother with his popularity and social status reminds me that I have to always keep working to be the best in my own career, just like he strived the be the best in his own field.

DT: What football match did he feature in that left you the most spellbound?

Tessy: A couple of them but you can’t take away his France ‘98 goal. Nobody expected it. Here was a midfielder who fired a shot from the midfield, tearing into the football net of Spain. It was epic!

DT: Has being his sister opened – or closed – doors for you?

Tessy: I can’t really say. Based on my Christian background, it is God that really opens doors. But I know that when people discover I’m Sunday Oliseh’s kid sister, they are usually surprised. Maybe that changes their attitude to me, but I can’t really say. 

DT: What is his relationship with his children like?

Tessy: He’s a loving father, and he’s very protective of his children.

DT: If he wasn’t a football professional, what other career do you think he would have excelled at?

Tessy: Business, certainly, as I think we took after our mum in that regard. She’s very industrious. 

DT: How does he relax?

Tessy: He spends time with his family, takes them to the movies. And of course, he loves to watch football on TV as well. 

DT: What is his favourite sport, besides football?

Tessy: Tennis, definitely, and he’s a big fan of Serena Williams and Roger Federer.

DT: What is your brother’s favourite food?

Tessy: I know it’s Couscous. He loves the special delicacy, made by his Moroccan wife. As for Nigerian meals, draw soup and fufu.

DT: What parenting method of his would you imbibe in your own family?

Tessy: He puts his family first and has a very wonderful relationship with his kids. I admire that so much.


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