By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

My
red eyes with which I stared in the mirror were self-explanatory. I could also
see my dried pale-looking lips begging for succulence – my lip balm has lost its
effectiveness. But it’s all part of the experience and even the bread at
breakfast can testify.
Moya
Dodd, a very influential figure in women’s football was coming to visit us and
I was excited about that. She’s friends with my friend Janine Anthony, I also
had that in mind.
In
class, however, it was observed that lateness had begun to creep into our
midst.
The
tiredness, as Gianni Merlo, the President of AIPS, noted was already telling on
us as we craved rest day. But as I stated earlier, it’s all part of the
experience and we are enjoying it nonetheless.
Of
course, Riccardo reminded us in class that “being on time is a
prerequisite for being a good journalist” as he went on to tell us about
another word that is important in the profession, ‘BALANCE’.
Journalists
have the power to influence people, he explained, adding that we need to be
responsible and be aware that every word has a weight. He used different
headlines to illustrate this.
After
our coffee break, we had the honour of welcoming Moya Dodd, Ex Vice President
of the Asian Football Confederation, AFC Exco, and a former member of the FIFA
Council.
Before
she started telling us about herself and her efforts in the development of
women’s football, we did a little test. She asked us six questions which
included, “In what year was women’s football ‘banned’ in England? It was
in 1921 and none of us got it.
From
her little test, we also found out that seven out of the eight titles in
Women’s Olympics Football Tournaments and World Cups since 2000 have been won
by women coaches, the exception being Norio Sasaki of Japan in 2011.
Moving
on, Dodd said, “Banning women from playing football is the greatest
sporting injustice”. She then reiterated that the statutory objective of
FIFA is the development of women’s football and the inclusion of women into the
government structure.
I
couldn’t meet her in person afterwards. She had to leave immediately.
Of
course my assignment today had to be on the Nigeria vs England game. It was me
vs Katie, my colleague from Newcastle.
Like
the day before, we had our lunch packed since we would not have time to eat
before leaving. It was Roselyn’s arrangement. I told you before that the
Secretary General of the AIPS is like a mother to us, Young Reporters and we
were told in class today that she would be leaving for her country Australia.
Her flight was for 2am. None of us expected she would be leaving after a week,
but she had already made sure of our comfort for the duration of our stay.
While
in the bus to the Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa, Katie and
I decided we would take a photo of us partaking in the handshake of peace
before kickoff and we did just that when the time came. Tracy, the Cameroonian
Young Reporter, did the honour of taking the first photo, then Sonja, one of
our AIPS mentors and more like Editor in chief, took another which she posted
on the AIPS Twitter handle.
The
game ended goalless, no victor, no vanquished. Fair for Katie, not good for me.
At
half time, I had gone to speak with some of the Nigerian fans I had spotted in
the stands, but I was not allowed into their section. The security personnel at
the gate of that section insisted I waited till the final whistle, but I knew I
would not succeed in my mission if I did that, so I gave her reasons why I had
to do the interviews at that time and she offered to go and call some of the
fans for me.

The
three people I interviewed were all from Katsina State and have been in Jordan
for three years studying at the University of Science and Technology, Irbid on
scholarship from their state government. They had come together in a bus to
support the Flamingoes.
Twice
today did I have issues with “modern facilities” in washrooms. First
in the hotel – not the one in my room – before we left for the stadium and then
the one at the Stadium Media Centre. You can think what you want, but there
were no casualties so you don’t have to worry.

Back
at the hotel, apart from writing my stories and forwarding them to the
appropriate quarters, we made sure to give Roselyn who was leaving us, big
sweet hugs. We would definitely miss her a lot.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here