“Doing something I love, something I enjoy, and being recognised for it always gives me a nice feeling.”—Agbetuyi John Oluwatimilehin, A.K.A Papi


Veronica Giwa

Popularly known as Papi, John is a Philosophy department footballer that plays in the forward position. He is one of the best sportsmen in the Faculty of Arts, and the University at large. He plays for the Faculty, Department and his Hall of residence. His efforts alongside his team mates’ went a long way in their victory against the Department of Political Science in the finals of the just concluded SEALS Cup Competition. AFAS Press interviewed him to get to know his personality as well as his passion for football.

AFAS Press: Can you introduce yourself, please?

Papi: My name is Agbetuyi John Oluwatimilehin, also known as Papi. I’m a 300 level student of the Department of Philosophy.

AFAS Press: When did you start playing football? Was it at the University of Ibadan?

Papi: I started playing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved to play, even as a kid.

AFAS Press: Are there other sports you do asides football?

Papi: Yes, I’m pretty decent at table tennis, at least I’d like to believe that.

AFAS Press: How has your journey as a popular UI sportsman been so far?

Papi: Well, it has really been beautiful. Doing something I love, something I enjoy and being recognised for it always gives me a nice feeling. It isn’t always easy combining sports and academics in UI, but I try to enjoy it and I’m thankful for the journey so far. I also hope it gets even better.

AFAS Press: Asides playing for Philosophy, do you play for the Faculty or the University as a whole?

Papi: Yes, I enjoy the privilege of playing for both the premier faculty and the premier University. I played in the last inter faculty competition as a freshman in 2020 or 2021. And I’m a Pioneer too, I represented UI in last year’s HIFL and the just concluded Oyo State Games this year.

AFAS Press: What position do you play for each team? Do you play in different positions or similar positions?

Papi: Actually, I play anywhere upfront as a forward. On some days I’m on the wings, on other days I play centrally. It depends on whatever my coaches and teams need from me at each game. But personally, I enjoy playing as a Center Forward.

AFAS Press: How do you balance sporting activities with Academics? You probably have to attend numerous training sessions and meetings. How are you able to cope effectively doing both?

Papi: I get asked this question very often, and usually I say it’s just God’s grace (which it truly is), but I think one thing I do is not losing sight of one while pursuing the other. That is, as much as I train, I also try to keep up with classes, assignments and the likes. And on days when the academic load is more pressing, I just try to do minimal personal workouts to maintain fitness.

Also, it helps to have amazing course mates like mine who are immensely supportive and fill me in on whatever I miss as a result of football. Fantastic people, my course mates are.

AFAS Press: What has been your toughest match so far in UI?

Papi: Woah, so many matches come to mind, it’s difficult to pick one in particular. Every match against the department of Classics has been nerve wracking and incredibly physical. The inter hall finals against Zik was also very tough. Our most recent triumph against Political Science in the Seals Cup finals, too. And, of course, there is that terrible humbling we suffered against MBBS. I really can’t pick one to be honest.

AFAS Press: How would you describe your experience in the just concluded SEALS Cup?

Papi: Well, it was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I’m delighted it ended on a high note for my team. Personally, at the beginning I struggled to get goals, but when it mattered most, the goals came.
Also we were able to rewrite our history from SEALS Cup finalists to SEALS Cup Champions. That was fulfilling.

AFAS Press: On a personal note, as a player that plays in the forward position, which defender has given you the toughest time so far in UI?

Papi: Quite like the other question asked, so many, but I think this time I can pick one. Sodiq of PG hall in the 2021 inter halls game. He was everywhere all at once, hard and decisive without being reckless. Honorable mentions to Jesus Dami of last year’s Political Science team, and that MBBS right back.

AFAS Press: Which goalie has given you a tough time as a forward player in UI so far?

Papi: Goal keepers really don’t stand much of a chance to be honest. If I get past the defense, then more often than not, the rest is easy. However, I have much respect for Orodin of Veterinary Medicine, and Olami of Political Science

AFAS Press: Which footballer do you look up to? Either Nigerian or non Nigerian.

Papi: My favourite Nigerian player is Victor Osimhen, but Cristiano Ronaldo is my GOAT.

AFAS Press: Do you wish to pursue football as a career path after school?

Papi: Definitely.

AFAS Press: How would you advise an upcoming player that looks up to you?

Papi: To be honest, I don’t think I’m big enough to have anyone looking up to me yet. However, if there was one, I’d say strive for consistency, keep training as much as possible and the opportunities will come naturally.

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