I
really wished I could have arrived in Calabar in time for the press parley with
the Super Eagles.
That
would have given me a chance to get up close and personal with the players,
coaches and other non-technical staff at a period they were still a bit relaxed
and did not have their game faces on.
Apparently
I work for people and they determine where I go, when I go and my conduct when
I get there so if the bosses insisted on Thursday, then it had to be.
Making
contingency plans
I
had to send my midget (I wonder why it is called midget), voice recorder, or
dictation machine, depending on which one you want to call it ahead of me to an
intern who lives in the town, got her email address, mailed questions to ask
specific players and after speaking with her twice on the phone I was sure my
absence in Calabar would be just physical.
But
arriving in Calabar was different.
Alongside
Benson Clement of Radio Nigeria we set off as early in the morning as
possible.  We didn’t want to be stuck for
three hours at Eleme on the outskirts of Port Harcourt where I heard the road
was very bad.
To Calabar with
love
Reading
the bible back in Sunday school, when Philip preached to the Ethiopian Eunuch,
he talked about water baptism and as they road into town, there was a stream at
the side of the road.
The
Eunuch asked Philip, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being
baptised (Acts 8: 36). Then the Eunuch was baptised by Philip.
As
we alighted at the MCC junction in Calabar, I sighted a restaurant with tables
all laid out and I screamed out to Benson, See! There’s a table all laid out. What
prevents us from going to try out the food.”
And
of course we had the first meal
And
after that we tried to get settled only find out Benson left his “Take
away” food pack he had paid for right there in the restaurant so we turned
all the way back.
Colourful
Ethiopians
At
this point we encountered the Ethiopians and decided to stop by at their hotel
to mingle.

There
were so many of them, a number later confirmed to be ninety but most, though
friendly “refused” to talk.
“Oh
we just go to our rooms and come back after ten minutes.”
“Ten
minutes. I promise.”
“We
want to talk with you but ten minutes.”
At
this point I was convinced they were told that the easiest English words to say
in Nigeria were, “give me ten minutes.”
Chatted
to a fellow called Tesfaye Yoseph who was a member of the Ethiopian Football
Association, EFA who confirmed that they have about forty members of their
supporters’ club including three performing artistes.
He
also told me that they lost in Addis Ababa because they made two mistake and
they were going to force Nigeria to make similar mistakes so they can win.
Eagles on lock
down
I
did not bother to go watch the Eagles train because it had been announced it
won’t be open to the press, but at 7.30 pm I stepped out to their hotel to hook
up with Calvin Emeka Onwuka of Supersport who was in town for the game.
I
also thought I could see a few players and coaches too but Keshi, I was told
had put his game face on.
Spoke
with Bright Dike who was very excited to be part of the Eagles again, Gabriel
Rueben who had no fears he had lost his place in the team because of his long
absence due to injuries.
Ahmed
Musa would not talk. According to him, not until after the game.
I
didn’t bother with Mikel Obi. What’s the point of embarking on a venture that
will fail anyway?
John
Ogu invited us over and he was holed up somewhere with Brown Ideye, Chigozie
Agbim and Azubuike Egwueke and after about half an hour with them, it was time
to move on.
Interviews
done, show hypes and shout outs done and we were out.
Chatted
a while with Ike Shorumu whom I’d known personally since his time as goalkeeper
coach with Dolphins in 2005 and again in 2007.
Back
to my hotel room it was time to edit the audio clips I had, send some to the
office for the radio show and then write some for my blog which I did until
2am.
I
still had the Super Eagles to watch in the morning and of course the visit to
the Ethiopians at their hotel.
No
rest for the peaceful,

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