Super Falcons Cameroon Diary, Day 7: Travails of my Ikwerre friend

By Chibuogwu
Nnadiegbulam
This
morning, Jessica Amadi called me to remind me of her predicament. She’s been
starving herself since she set foot in Cameroon and she told me that yesterday
she had survived on only a bottle of groundnut.
  
Jessica
can literarily write a book on the delicacies she has had to taste and dump,
starting from the “perfumed rice” that welcomed her to town. Plus her
futile search for a Nigerian restaurant. And here I was thinking I was worse.
She
needed me to buy biscuit and water for her on my way to the stadium. But as a
good Samaritan that I am, I decided to make further enquiries about where we
can get Nigerian food. But Tracy confirmed that it would be difficult to locate
one in Limbe.
After
going back and forth, we settled for the option of cooking in Tracy’s house, so
I can take some food to her at the stadium.
Tracy’s
elder sister, Solange, went to the market. So she bought things for egusi
(melon) soup. I used grinding stone (that I have dodged in different quarters)
for the first time in my life to grind crayfish, (I cannot play that kind of
rough play with their pepper, biko, not when I can’t even scratch my eyes with
my hand in peace anymore).
Solange
helped me grind the pepper. They had suggested I put it in the pot of soup like
that, so that anyone eating could mash it in their plate, but I didn’t think
Jessica was ready for that.
Well,
I cooked for the second time in Cameroon, and every one that ate commended me.
I dished out Jessica’s food before getting ready for the stadium.
At
about 2:45, Tracy’s brother saw me off to where I took a bike, so I could get
to the stadium faster. 
The
bike man did not have his ID card, so he dodged the first check point by taking
another route, which still had a checkpoint. At that point, I regretted not
asking him for his ID before getting on his motorcycle, knowing the kind of
security that would be at the stadium.
I
thought explaining that I was a journalist and showing my tag would help us
pass, but that did not work as the officer insisted on the motorcyclist’s
national ID card.
The
bike man gave all sorts of excuses and lies too, but to no avail. In the end,
he still had to bribe the police officer with CFA 500 before he let us pass. He
took the money from me. So I gave him 500 more when I got to my destination.
When
we got close to the stadium, the policemen guarding the area would not let us
use the hilly road that leads to the main entrance. They signaled that we
should keep moving forward. There is another gate up front. I tried to tell the
bike man that, but he would not listen. So I had to stop in front of that hilly
road and started walking up.
Oh
my! It was my first time of climbing up, I had only climbed down.  For close to 30 minutes I was walking and
sweating.
It
felt like I had two bags of cement on my feet. I flagged down two vehicles, but
after the snub, I carried my cross. Remember, I still had Jessica’s food with
me.
I
eventually got into the stadium four minutes into the match between Nigeria and
Ghana. I kept Jessica’s food at the media working area, which is opposite the
press conference room. I didn’t want an ‘all eyes on me’ scenario when walking
up to the media tribune inside the stadium.

Nigerian
fans were not as many as they were in the match against Mali, but they were
loud as usual. However they had real competition from their Ghanaian
counterparts. This played out on the pitch as well, with both sides sharing the
spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Ghana
were obviously the happier of the two teams with the draw, but their task of
qualifying for the knockout round got a lot harder after their next opponent,
Mali, defeated Kenya 3-1 in the other match of the day. Time and time again,
Kenya were denied by the Malian goal keeper.
After
the press conference of the last match, Jessica and I joined the CAF bus for
journalists going to Buea.
It
was today I knew that CAF provided buses for journalists. We alighted at a roundabout
before getting another bus going to her hotel.
Victoria
Guest House Hotel – Whatever has been making me call it Victoria Garden hotel.

We
were chatting until Janine arrived. So both of them ate the Eba and Egusi soup.
Afterwards, we continued our gist into the night, while working in between. I
spent the night at the hotel.

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