Just
in case I am stranded at the hotel and can’t find a way to the stadium on my
next trip to Calabar, blame me for my negligence.

Ever
since I got into town on Thursday, I got help from an ally, Christian Anozie
@Tijochris who helped out with accommodation and transportation.
In
fact he provided a chauffeur driven vehicle to take me where ever I wanted to
go and the driver, Godwin had been a very nice fellow but in all of these I
forgot to mention them in my first diary of Calabar.
I
hope Godwin doesn’t read my blog or else, I will have no one to take me to
Atimbo for dog porridge tonight.
Last time out
with the Eagles
After
I awoke  and wrote my day 1 diary I had
my morning ritual of a cuppa tea and it was time to see the Eagles train for
the last time before the big game so it was off to the Stadium for me.
I
thought Keshi was working his boys on playing from the wings because they had a
thirty or more minutes routine of working the ball from the center of defence
to the middle of the pitch and then long ball down to the wings where the
winger out ran his marker and crossed for a center forward.
That
happened over and over again.
Then
after some other drills he split them into two sides and they played for about
20 or more minutes before the session was called off.
I
sighted my twitter friend, Dare Art Alade, @darey getting high on the fact that
fans were drooling over him and he was doing all the TV interviews so when the
crowd had died down I went to say hello.

Dare
said he was in Calabar for an event and came over to support the Eagles and
also to see his friend Daniel Amokachi.
I
also sighted my friend from Port Harcourt, Pastor Idah Peterside who also told
me he was in Calabar to support his country and didn’t want to stay back in
South Africa and miss the whole celebrations.
Idah
reiterated that the Eagles will play in the World Cup semi finals.
After
the session Stephen Keshi took time to answer questions from the press and he
spoke about how important the game is to him because “every game is
important to me.”
He
also spoke on Omeruo and Rueben who are returning to the team after long spells
out injured.
Keshi
said he was/is happy with the progress they have made so far.
Funny,
a chap asked Keshi, “Is this your last training session?”
The
look on Keshi’s face remains epic till this moment.
Keshi
looked up and asked him, “Where do you work?”
The
rest is history.
Ethiopians
disappoint
After
speaking to the Ethiopian delegation leader, Tesfaye Yoseph on the day of their
arrival and he said we could come for the interviews.
However,
the previously friendly Ethiopians changed and they wouldn’t let anyone speak,
not even their fans.
Shina
Okeleji of the BBC, Lekan from Associated Press, myself, Benson Clement from
Radio Nigeria and a few other journos left in anger.
They
assured us we could talk with them at their training session later in the day
when they train at 4pm.
Checking out
with the Port Harcourt people
As
soon as my colleagues from Port Harcourt began to arrive like @pointmancarl,
Peter Abaje from Ray Power, Tonye Orabere from the Tide and three others I
moved out of my hotel that didn’t have enough rooms for them.
We
decided to stay at the same place and after settling down in the new place, we
were off to the stadium to watch the Ethiopians train.
Not
long after they started training, some of their officials began to grumble that
there were too many Nigerians watching them and they subtly asked us all to
leave the main bowl which we eventually did.
The
Ethiopian fans however made a glorious entrance to the stadium, singing fan
songs and taking pictures with those who cared.
Accreditation
With
that out of the way, it was time to wait a few minutes for accreditation that
was to start at 5pm.
After
waiting until 6pm, word came in that NFF’s chief media officer, Ademola Olajire
had moved it to 8pm.
Some
journalists left in anger, others grumbled and still stayed back.
At
a quarter to eight, the stadium manager comes to us saying we have to vacate
the stadium as they were going to turn off the power generating set soon.
Indeed
the lights went out and we were forced to leave the stadium without our
accreditation or knowing where Ademola Olajire was.
We
stopped by to grab dinner when I got a call from Calvin Onwuka that Olajire was
in town and wanted to meet us at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel but between
my location and the hotel, the venue had changed to the Squash courts of the U.
J. Esuene Stadium.
That
was the only “room” at the stadium that had a small “I pass my
neighbour” generator running but while in the process of accreditation,
the generator was turned off and we had to complete the process via lights from
our mobile phones.
At
the end of the session, all tired out, we retired to the hotel but spent time
at the lobby having the funniest of meals while watching the last ten minutes
of the game between Portugal and Sweden.
What
was the meal? Bread, beer, Coca Cola and water.
We
all ate the bread and between myself, Carl, Nduka, Peter and Benson the choice
is yours to guess who drank the beer, cola or water.
But
the bread was freshly baked though.
Yawn!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here