Diary of Enugu, Day 2: Oha soup is better than Bitter leaf

Nigerian League legend, Victor Ezeji picks Niger Tornadoes out of the pot
Today is a match free day
but I know I’m going to be busy almost all day because of the schedule I had
already made out for myself.
Remember, the Victor Ezeji
Testimonial comes up in exactly one week from today and that was one of the
reasons I and Victor Ezeji decided to come for the Super 4.
We had fixed a meeting with
Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf, also known as Fresh and he said we should be at his hotel
about 9 am.
Incidentally he was housed
in the same hotel as the club chairmen and other League Management Company
senior officials so it was obvious I was going to meet with other people too.
Well, we saw Fresh and had a
good discussion with him of which he said we should come back in twenty four
hours for feedback which we promised we would.
Eguma loves to be praised
I had to see my good friend,
Doctor Wachukwu of Rivers United and my next stop was at their hotel which
incidentally was close to mine.
On my way up the stairs I met
Donald Egemba, also known as Dero on the stairway with Stanley Eguma.
Dero is a known supporter of
Enyimba but living and doing his business in Port Harcourt for so long, he was
known to all.
I stopped Eguma and told him
I thought he had a good team and at the mention of that, he stopped to listen
to me.
I told Eguma that I he had a
good team. I said even the first game his side lost to Rangers did not take
anything away from them because they played some good football which I had
hardly seen from them before.
I continued that the win
against FC Ifeanyi Ubah showed that it would be an interesting season ahead as
his team was now in my books, one of the contenders for a title challenge.
He gave me a mile long grin
showing he approved of what I said, but I was not finished yet.
I said, “Coach, now that I have
called to praise you, I guess you are happy? If your team had played badly and I
had said the truth about your team, you would have said I am fighting you,
right?”
Eguma laughed and said he
had always known me to be objective in my speaking, but I had said what I said.
The team is currently playing well. If they play badly at some point in the
season I will point it out to him too.’’
Club mascots getting ready for the event
Return for the draws
At eight o clock at night I was
back to the Golden Royale Hotel to witness the draws for the league.
I was aware that some people
criticized the League Management Company for holding public draws for the
league rather than just prepare it and send out to the clubs and media.
Some other people wondered
why the LMC released just the draws for week 1 and not for the full season but
all these just showed that a few of our journalists are not well informed.
Firstly, we do not have to
do everything like Europe. Even though we try to emulate them since they are a
leading light we must still have our peculiarities.
There is a reason why we
hold public draws for the league.
Nigerians still do not trust
for one another and the League could be accused of rigging the draws to favour
a team or two so it is best done in public. 
According to Shehu Dikko, “It’s
a tradition here that suites us as it makes everything transparent and of course
we have an event to create value, especially for our sponsors, TV and media
partners etc. Note in those days when draws where not made publicly clubs
always complain of manipulation to either support some or deny some. But now
the open draws where every club picked their fixture transparently has
eliminated this and of course has created some excitement and buzz for the
league.”
And to those that thought
the full fixtures were not made public, they were.
For example, after the draws
on Saturday night, Emeka Nwani came to me and said they (Rangers) will play
Plateau United in Week 38 but will not need that match because they would have
won the League by week 36.
The full fixtures were made
on Saturday up till week 38.
Again, according to Shehu
Dikko, “People are just focusing on week one fixtures because it’s the opening
week but every person at the draw has a booklet containing fixtures in numbers
up to week 38.”
We fixed appointments with
Barrister Danladi Isaac of Nasarawa United, Dominc Iorfa, the BOT chairman of
the League, Emeka Inyama of Abia Warriors, Chuma Ubah of Ifeanyi Ubah and Felix
Anyansi Agwu of Enyimba.
It certainly means we would
be at the hotel again in the morning before the final round of matches for the
Super 4.
Did I forget to say when I had
lunch earlier in the day I tried Oha soup as the Enugu bitter leaf soup tasted
like goat dung?
Yes I did… and the oha soup
was a much better experience.
 

LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko backed by a bevy of beauties

Miss Nigeria Football was there to grace the occasion 

The stage was set before the event

Earlier in the day… The Oha soup looked and tasted better than the Bitter leaf

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