After the Eagles beat Seychelles 3-1 in their final AFCON Qualifier, it was
now down to us to play our own game against the Delta All Stars- a
novelty one.
Arrival
time at the stadium was put at 7 am because there would be a photo
shoot just before the game. Our group had just gotten a partnership
with Sportswear giants, Owu and we needed to model the kits. The only
time we had was just before the game.
I was
already up at 5 am to post my other diary and do some stuff. At
6.30 am we were in the hotel car park and ready to roll when my car
did not start. Lol. I had left the lights on since the last time I
drove it twenty-four hours earlier. Owosports (Owolabi Aleshinoye)
had to lend me his battery and as soon as we got that off our backs
we were off to the stadium.
On
arrival we heard that the U23 team would train from 7.30 am and then the
Super Eagles. I met with Shehu Dikko and from our talk, I figured out we
could squeeze into the time between both National Team training
sessions to have our game, but first, the photo shoot was about to
start and the makeup artist took her time to turn us into pretty and
nice folk.
The makeup artists turned us into sweet little boys
Starting
lists were read out and I would be on the bench but that did not
matter to me. I was there to have a run on the pitch and exert some
energy. I hadn’t done those in a while.
A
light warm-up session led by Pikin of God was next and then the match
proper.
The
result of the game went viral immediately it ended so that is not the topic of discussion here, but why we lost so we can end this once and for
all.
Why we lost???
It
was simple. We were mentally, physically and financially prepared but
we met a team that had the backing of the number one football person
in Nigeria.
Amaju Pinnick in all his glory
Amaju
Melvin Pinnick was our opponent and it was difficult to get the ball
off him. Not that he was Lionel Messi-esque or Diego Maradona-esque
or even Etim Esin-esque, no! He was far from all of these. He was
simply the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin
Pinnick.
Every
touch on him was a foul against our players and it became so evident
that our players just let him go past them because they were scared
to get cards or be sent off. 
 
Meanwhile, our players did not get any
protection from the referee as one was stretchered off injured and
our midfield maestro, Shehu Dikko almost lost his legs in a vicious
tackle. Andrew Randa too, our captain was at the end of some vicious tackles too.
At
the time Amaju Pinnick scored, it was obvious that the home side
would win or we wouldn’t leave the stadium alive.
This
all sounds like the complaints of a Nigerian League club after they
lose an away game, right?
Captain Andrew Randa upended
The
truth is that there may have been shenanigans before and during the
game but we were in Asaba to enjoy a novelty game and Amaju Pinnick
as well as Shehu Dikko are top football players for their ages.
Pinnick scored a goal that a lot of NPFL players would be proud of
and we are chuffed for him. It was a good game. The SWAN team lost
but we could win the next one. Let the banter continue though. There is little to complain about the game. it is about friendship and camaraderie so no issue. 
Top prize for goal
scored
There
was a prize of five thousand naira for the scorer of the first goal
to be given by Corporate PH 6 which was Amaju Melvin Pinnick so I had
to present the cash to him.
I
called Andrew Randa and Sanipe and reminded them about the
presentation and they asked me if I had an envelope which I didn’t,
but I cheekily said I want the whole world to see me give the NFF
president raw cash of five thousand naira and we all laughed.
I
beckoned on the NFF president and told him my mission and he got
himself ready.
Presenting Pinnick with his cash gift
With
the cameramen waiting for the presentation, Pinnick looked at the
raw cash in my hands, looked at the journalists and photographers in
front of him and said to them, while referring to me, “China better
say it on record why he is giving me this money before the pictures
go viral and people think something else of it,” then we all
laughed because he was obviously joking and trying to be part of the
fun.
I
handed his cash over to him and then he waved it in the air, said a
small thank you and the ceremony was over.
Ndoki with love
Next
up for me was Ndoki where I would be chairing the Local Organising
Committee of the Osteen Ejiasa Ndoki Unity Cup.
It
was a quick drive to the hotel, check out formalities done, a quick shower and we were off to Ndoki. I made the trip with Sanipe Damiete
and Chuma Nnoli. Before we left the hotel I told them we would have
to strike out the next two hours of the journey because I was so
sure we would be stuck at the River Niger bridge but we were not. The
journey was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. We were at Ndoki and
planning for the opening ceremony continued.
 
How I love the countryside. Too bad I do not feel safe in my own village, Oduoha Ogbakiri. One day, just one day, all will be well.
 
Andrew Randa makes up for the shoot

 

Team SWAN: We wuz robbed

 

We took selfies rather than warmed up for the game

 

Coach almost threw me in to rescue the game but changed his mind. Coach must go!

 

Team Chubbs enjoying time on the subs bench

 

Our curator, Kelvin Ekerete enjoying his trade

 

We preferred selfies to the game itself

 

Team Nigerian Football
 

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