By Chibuogwu
Nnadiegbulam
I
have always known Monday to be the first working day of the week, but it is
actually the second here in Jordan and I woke up looking forward to the start
of the second round of group matches at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.
Also
we would be having a visitor in class, the Jordanian owner of Bristol Rovers, a
third tier club in England, Wael Al-Qadi. Sonja had sent that information in an
email to us the day before.
Breakfast
was as usual, and then there was class, where I noticed I was yawning
incessantly, dabbing from time to time the tears that welled up in my eyes as a
result.
Riccardo
used me as an example in class while explaining how to approach an interview
with a coach or a player who had just lost a match and is probably not in the
right mood to grant any interviews or give out much.
Start
from the subtle and more relaxing questions before going into the likes of
“why did you say your players were frightened by the name ‘Brazil'”,
as you wind up. Because you must realise that the interview is not about you.
Afterwards,
he asked us what we would do when reporting certain situations with regards to
speed and accuracy, using the Patrick Muamba incident of March 2012 when he
suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch during a televised FA Cup
match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.
It
was concluded that speed threatens accuracy, especially with virtually everyone
wanting to BREAK the news.
In
spite of speed, however, it is non-negotiable to establish the facts of an
incident in your reportage.
The
Jordanian owner of League One club in England, Bristol Rovers, Wael Al-Qadi was
our special guest on the day. He grew up in London watching a lot of Chelsea
games and he credits football for saving his life from certain things teenagers
at that time were into.
He
tried to play football but wasn’t good at it and so he has dedicated himself to
the development of the sport especially in Jordan.
The
Banker by profession who insists that banking is conservative, explained that
one of the reasons he bought Bristol Rovers was to give Jordanian football
stars the opportunity to play abroad.
Well,
in all of his busy schedule, he is not the best family man you can think of.
According
to him “my wife, before I married her, I told her ‘it’s football and
football and football then you’ and she agreed.” Football will always come
before his child’s graduation ceremony.
The
Al Hassan International Stadium in Irbid, where group A matches would take
place was my destination for the day. All of us who had been assigned there had
our lunch packed as we embarked on our 2 hour bus drive.
I
watched the first match between Spain and New Zealand since I was working on an
article on the Kiwis.
From
the start, it was so predictable that they were not going to make it beyond the
group stage and even if they held Spain goalless for over 80 minutes, their
resilience snapped in the last 10 minutes plus additional time as they conceded
two.
They
were indeed brave, but bravery was obviously not enough.
And
so, I needed to understand why they were so dominant in Oceania but always fail
to replicate that form on the world stage.
While
the game was going on, I had my story outlined, and then at the Press
Conference I asked coach Gareth Turnbull my question which I used in the
article.
Honestly,
because of the FIFA rules, it’s quite difficult getting clear sounds because
you cannot place your recording device on the table in front of the coaches or
players talking.
So
here I was stretching my arm  a little
bit towards the nearest loud speaker from where I sat.
Then
a photographer came from behind to my side and started releasing shutter sounds
into my recording. Oh well. He was eventually told to go back by an official
standing by.
My
day at Irbid was eventually capped by the fact that Jordan got their first ever
goal at a Women’s World Cup through No 10, Sarah Abu Sabbah, whose father was
later interviewed by two of our AIPS Young Reporters from Jordan, Heba and
Farah.
It
was the first goal of the match which Jordan lost 4-1 to Mexico, but that did
not douse the emotions running through on the historical night for the host
country.

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