Super Falcons Cameroon diary Day 15:

With Thembi Kgatlana
By Chibuogwu
Nnadiegbulam
It
was my first morning in the city of seven hills. The day for the last set of
pre-match press conferences for the tournament.
My
first port of call was Mont Febe, the hotel where South Africa and Cameroon are
lodged.
The
Banyana Banyana were the main reason I went there. I needed to have a chat with
their goalkeeper, Andile Dlamini, who is a first choice goalkeeper in a
tournament for the first time, since she made her debut with the senior team.
And
also Thembi Kgatlana, whose pace can trouble any defence.
I
met our Kenyan friend and colleague, Julia, there. We were actually
communicating via Whatsapp before I took a cab.
The
first cab man that wanted to take me told me 2000 CFA. I did not even answer
him again. Then I called Julia who told me she paid 1500 CFA but felt like she
was cheated because she was later told she should have paid 800 – 1000 CFA.
With
that in mind, I flagged down another cab which took me to the hotel, which was
not so high up a mountain, for 800 CFA.
Julia
was already having an interview with Janine van Wyk, the captain of the South
African side. So I approached Linda and Noko, who were waiting for their turn
to their turn to get into Julia’s hot seat. Noko helped me call the media
officer of the team.
When
Namhla Mphelo came down, I told her what my mission was, and she called Andile
Dlamini and Thembi Kgatlana for me. I did an extensive interview with these two
and felt good with myself. Where I would have the ‘wahala’ now would be in
transcribing.
After
Julia and I were done with South Africa, we went to the lobby downstairs to see
if we could catch one or two Cameroon players. We waited till they finished
their lunch, but afterwards, even their captain refused to talk. They all spoke
French by the way, so that was another big issue.
We
had thought of seeing the Media officer, Leocadia, first, but she was not in
the hotel. She had left alongside the coach and a player for their press
conference. However, when we contacted her, she said they would only be
available for interviews after the final on Saturday.
While
we were about leaving the hotel, we caught with coach Desiree Ellis, who was at
that time late for lunch. But by the time she was done telling us her itinerary
for the rest of the day, 6pm was the only available time left. I didn’t go
back, but Julia did.
From
Mont Febe, Julia and I got into another cab headed for Djeuga Palace hotel,
where Nigeria and Ghana are lodged. We needed to speak to Ghanaian players.
On
our way, an elderly got in. After a while, she started speaking French to me,
but since I didn’t understand, the driver interpreted. She asked me if I had a
ticket, but I told her no because I don’t need tickets to go into the stadium.
I had already told her I was a journalist and she even looked at my tag and
gave me thumbs up. Afterwards she said, Cameroon will beat Nigeria 2-0.
After
enduring traffic jam on the road, Julia and I finally arrived at Nigeria and
Ghana’s hotel. We had an interesting interview with Elizabeth Addo, Portia Boakye
and Suleman Samira.
It
was after that we went our separate ways. Julia needed to change some money,
while I needed to go for Nigeria’s press conference.
I
missed the press conference though, but I watched the first 15 minutes of their
training. That was the much time the media got. By this time, I was so hungry
and tired that I began to get angry.
To
make matters worse, the CAF bus that had offered to carry us for free started
wasting time while we were already inside the bus.
While
on our way finally, we were told about a dinner organised by the Minister of
Communications at 8pm tomorrow and before we went to our various hotels, we
visited the Minister at the Ministry of Communications.

We
finally got to the hotel.

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