By Orjinmo Nduka
…then they had a victory parade round the hills and the coal mines of the city in an open top bus with the inscription “THIS IS ENUGU: THE CITY OF DREAMS”.
Captain James Okwuosa wouldn’t miss the parade, and so had flown in from South Africa to share the moment in the sun.
The NPL trophy stashed with the fifty million naira prize money-all in N5000 naira notes-shone brilliantly and glistened with the fading sun.
The only player on the bus was captain Okwuosa-though not touching the cup/cash stash-and the coach, Okey Emordi and other officials of the technical crew.
Behind the bus was a motorcade of open-roof convertibles. Twenty five of them in all.
Officially, the University of Nigeria Nsukka and the Enugu State University of Science and Technology were on internal strike.
Unofficially, they were on a one day holiday declared by the state government to mark the triumphant return of the team after winning the league.
With over twenty thousand students free, and fifteen thousand of them ladies, each of the convertibles had six occupants at least.
The only male occupant the driver a Rangers player who had just been rewarded with the car and cash gift promised by the state government after the team lifted the curse of not winning the Nigeria Premier League by edging out Kano Pillars by a single point with a last day 6-0 thrashing of a complying Sharks.
Pillars had lost 3-2 to Sunshine Stars in a hotly contested match while Lobi had lost in kaduna United, going down to a 118 minute penalty.
While the players drove around with their cash in their trunks, Coach Emordi had his safely tucked away in one of the old generation banks, he had inquired about the cost of a hair transplant and had just about enough in his savings to get ten years of youthfulness back. Then he too will storm the walls of the Universities in the state.
Chikeluba Ofoedu, champagne frothing in his convertible and soiling his leather, knew that getting a foreign club had just been made easier.
He would flex no doubt, but he knew that his treasure was not in flesh or lip gloss but in a foreign league where whiter skins and redder lips abound.
With the half a million naira given each of them by the state government, he would not be at the mercy of some unscrupulous agent but would be his own boss.
5 feet tall Ejike Uzoenyi was able to raise his head and wave to a group of children hanging from a balcony as the train went by Nanka Street.
How the kids were able to spot the Super Eagles winger whose head and entire frame was buried in the midst of five ladies of the Food Science Technology department of ESUT was a surprise until one looked closer to see that his car had the number plate “UZO-1”.
He had been given permission by the Super Eagles coaching crew to enjoy the evening with his club.
With half a million naira in his kitty, you imagine that he has moved up the ladder in the national team set up.
Cyril Oriaku woke up in start and found his leg entangled in his blanket.
In his dream, those legs were immersed in an Azonto dance with four ladies all round him.
He rubbed his tongue all over his lips to relieve the Moet of the previous night but found out that all things in the dream world end just there, as dreams
But one man who never got into that dreamy state was chairman of the club Felix Onuh who threw a further twist into the NPL-Ocean Boys farce by declaring that Rangers may be heading to court to protest the NPL’s decision to throw Ocean Boys out of the league.
He would point to Kano Pillars and Lobi Stars losses on the final day of the league as proof that his club would have won the league.
While this talk of legal protest would surely have generated more laughter were it not played out in the same period as the Falconets losing to Japan and Super Eagles drawing in Liberia. Goalkeeper’s Ibubeleye Whyte and Vicent Enyeama were surely the stars of the weekend.
The NPL clearly did what was right by implementing the law and Onuh’s call to challenge that decision in the court is as a result of not having the lottery go his way in the end.
You would imagine that Kano Pillars or Dominic Iorfa would have done same if victory was seemingly snatched out of their reach.
The timing of the NPL decision is highly regrettable and condemnable. It ranks with the annulment of the June 12 1993 election and like that election whose results have not been released, the failure to intervene on time gave room for speculations and the comedy that characterized the last days of the season.
Who knows, if the NPL had acted when Ocean Boys missed two consecutive matches, Rangers would have immediately known their new position on the league and perhaps would have mustered just enough will to fight and win the league for the first time in their history.
If they had won, the government would likely have delivered on its Car, cash and Land promise and there would have been no point in dreaming.
You can follow Nduka Orjinmo on twitter- @orjinmonduka