It is not the sort of welcome Okolie Odafa is used to. Shoulders drooping, the Churchill Brothers skipper tried to sneak into the hotel on landing in Kolkata on Wednesday after getting bail in a molestation case registered in Mumbai.
“I’m facing this because I’m a footballer. This probably wouldn’t happen to a cricketer,” said the 25-year-old Nigerian, India’s highest paid footballer. He was referring to the case slapped on him and teammates Kalu Ogba and Arindam Bhattacharya for allegedly molesting two air hostesses on a Goa-Kolkata Spicejet flight (with a halt in Mumbai) on Tuesday.
Taking cover behind goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya’s huge frame, the captain of the Goa soccer club and reigning I-League champions was very subdued, though he is known to be a prankster.
Whose fault was it? Is this going to affect his performance against Mohun Bagan on Thursday? Odafa was silent.
“You will find it only in India. Had it been my country, I would have known how to deal with these things,” he finally said. “Not many people are aware but I have two kids. I have a wife [Angel] who is more beautiful than that girl.”
Pleading innocence he said: “Planes have cameras, don’t they? Let them come up with the video to prove I’m guilty.”
The Mumbai police on Wednesday continued recording statements of other fliers. If guilty, the accused could face a maximum jail term of two years.
Spicejet has reported the matter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Agency reports said the club’s patron Churchill Alemao has threatened to file a defamation suit against the airline.