By
Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam
I
woke up this day not realizing it was a Sunday but it was not just a Sunday, it
was a National holiday here in Jordan.
It
was one that marked the Islamic New Year and the first match-free day of the
FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup. That however had nothing to do with our activities
as AIPS Young Reporters.
I
had forgotten to set my alarm the night before (or should I say in the wee
hours of the morning, because that was when I actually slept), so it felt good
to have been up at 7:30 am – which was early enough – without any help,
considering how much I was attached to the warmth beneath my duvet.
Then
the clock began to tick really fast like in the days before today. Once I was
dressed, Breakfast was next. This time I asked for Omelette not fried egg, and
it was more like what I’ve known all my life even if it didn’t have pepper and
onions in it.
In
class, since there were no matches to cover for the day, we were asked if we
had appointments with our various teams; an interview with the coach, captain
or something like that.
Already,
I had thought of visiting the Flamingoes at their Le Royal Hotel so I could
speak with the coach, Bala Nikyu and maybe Mary-Ann Ezenagu – whom I was
impressed with her individual contributions in the game against Brazil – ahead
of their make or mar match on Tuesday against England.
The
audio I had gotten from the post-match conference of the Flamingoes’ loss to
Brazil was echo-ridden and not suitable for listening, therefore it was
important I got something ear-friendly. So I tendered my request.
When
we had our coffee break, I quickly used Paloma’s phone to call Isabella to
inform her that I would be coming to their hotel later in the day, and she made
me understand that the spirit in camp is low and no one might want to talk to
me.
However
she revealed to that there would be a training session at 4pm adding that it
could provide a better atmosphere to get my interviews. But I did not ask
where. I assumed.
Prior
to the game against Brazil, I was at their final training, albeit just for the
20 minutes they warmed up, at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman and so I
thought that was where they have been training or maybe somewhere close.
So
I told our mentors that, and Riccardo agreed to go with me since he was there
with me the last time. This time, Fatima also needed to go to the same stadium
because the Paraguay team would be training at 5. Our plan was set and we were
to leave at 2:15.
But
after class ended at 12:30, Fatima made me realise I could be wrong about the
venue of Nigeria’s training. So I bought a recharge card of 1 Jordanian Dinar
for 2JD – tax inclusive. If I needed the one of 6JD, I would have to pay 11JD.
Isabella,
Flamingoes Media Officer, confirmed that the training would not be at the King
Abdullah II Stadium as I had assumed, but at the Al Jazeera training site
located at the King of Bahrain Forest, Queen Alia Airport Street.

I
met the receptionist to translate it to Arabic on a sheet of paper for me so a
taxi driver could easily understand.
Gianni
Merlo, AIPS President who is from Italy, helped me tell Riccardo about the
supposed change in venue and Riccardo had no problem with that. So while
Roselyn agreed to go with Fatima, by 2:17, RIccardo and I were already in a cab
heading towards the Queen Alia Airport.
The
driver said he knew where we were going, so we didn’t have to worry much but
enjoy the view of houses atop hills and mountains.
Then
we got to a seemingly secluded area where some families were having picnic
under cypress trees by the right, while about two nomads or so, were at the
desert scenery by the left with their Donkey and Carmel.
Finally,
we found the Al Jazeera training site, and soon after, the Nigerian team
arrived.
We
were allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of their training after which we were
told to stay outside the facility, nevertheless, I was still able to watch the
full training since it was only a barbed wire that separated me from the pitch.
When
they were done working on their passing speed and accuracy as well as taking
shots from outside the box etc. for close to two hours, it was time I spoke
with the coach, but he didn’t want to speak with me, asking me instead to come
the next day, for their final training and then Press Conference in Al Zarqa.
Obviously,
he wasn’t in the mood, but I didn’t have the luxury of coming again the next
day and so I had to beg.
In
the end I could only ask three out of the six questions I had lined up for him
after which Riccardo and I were on our way back to the hotel. Riccardo had
asked the driver to wait for us, it surely would have been frustrating for us
to find another cab if he didn’t.
Back
at the hotel, I had dinner where I saw something that looked a bit like moi
moi.
But
with the plenty names that followed my asking, it was surely was not and I left
it in peace.
I
did my story for the AIPS in preview of Nigeria’s game against England on
Tuesday, did another story for LadiesMatch regarding how important the new week
was for Africa, wrote day 2 and 3 of my belated diary before going to bed.
I
didn’t tell you my roommate has branded me a “workaholic”.

While
we were in class in the morning she and asked me if I knew the Rihanna song
“work, work, work, work, work” and as soon I said yes, she said the
song was for me.

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