I was excited to go cover the Super Eagles game against South Africa for so many reasons. Chiefly because it will be my first Eagles game in nearly two years since my chase for the golden fleece took me abroad.
Can I also add that I missed all the fun and drama with colleagues. The thing about assignments like that is everyone from all over Naija makes it down so it is an opportunity to play catch.
The other reason is one I can’t drop here but feel free to take a wild guess. No prizes for that sha as per no be for my mouth una go hear say....
So my journey to Uyo started on a Friday when I had to navigate my way to Abuja to get a flight. If you live in Jos, Minna, Kaduna or Bauchi and you’re not a big fan of Nigerian roads, then you will understand this part of the post.
I won’t bore you with how I got to the airport, that part was terrible and I nearly missed my flight in the process but thankfully, Nigerian airlines, known for their delays helped me this time around.
|With Mallam Farouk Yarma|
As usual with airports, they are a melting point. So there I was waiting for the flight to Uyo with big wigs like LMC chairman Shehu Dikko, NFF Board member Ahmed Fresh, NFF GS Dr Mohammed Sanusi, Senate House Committee of Sports Leader Hon Gaya and Gombe State Commissioner of Sports and Youth Empowerment Mallam Farouk Yarma.
|With Shehu Dikko before departure|
Yarma became my ‘gist’ partner. We spoke about Nigerian football and grass-roots development. My respect for him grew in leaps and bounds.
We finally boarded and 50 minutes later we were in Uyo.
I don’t like Uyo..errr....please don’t crucify me. I prefer Calabar, not necessarily for the fine women or the clean roads but everywhere is within touching distance. Every where in this case means the airport, Eagles team hotel and the stadium.
I got to my hotel that was reserved for me by my seniorman China Acheru, who by the way has failed our bet of reducing his tommy. I’m calling on everyone reading this to tell China Acheru aka Ikwerreman to pay up. My 500 Euros must be paid before we leave Uyo or else I will show him I’m a proper Jos boy.
This is not a threat.
Anyways so I dropped my bags and headed out to the Eagles nest at Le Meridien Hotel and Resort. I met Chika, a member of the Supporters Club whom I last saw in 2015 at the CAF U17 Championship in Niamey.
|With Chika of the NFSC|
It was a nice reunion to be candid and I was happy to see her after about two years plus. I also had a chance to pick Shehu Dikko’s brains and I must say I’m impressed with the gentleman. I was able to catch up with Shehu Abdullahi, Moses Simon, Ogenyi Onazi and John Ogu and we decided to continue the ‘gist’ when Nigeria hopefully beat South Africa.
Something strange happened. I bumped into South Africa midfielder Andile Jali whom I last met in 2012. I took a selfie with him then, He could not remember me so I brought out the picture for him to see.
Dude was shocked, so right there on the spot we decided to do a before and after. The result you can see below.
|With Jali in 2012, With Jali in 2017.|
He doesn’t seem to age.
I had to saunter back to town as I kept getting calls from folks who wanted to see me. See, ehn, the thing is most of these cats I have never met. They heard I was in town and asked if they could come see me. Sounds strange though but off to town Clestan Hotel I went.
Strange thing again was peeps recognizing me and I couldn’t. It was embarrassing and I felt bad, then came the ‘can we take a picture together part’. That one sef felt odd but I had to oblige.
After all the drama, it was finally time to unwind but before then I had to play catch up with the likes of Jessica Amadi, Precious Oham, Tobi Adepoju, Chris Oguogo, Ekine Moseph, Pointman Carl and a few others.
Let me cut to the chase. The evening ended with a party organised by a WhatsApp group I joined recently. It was mad fun. Kai, Naija journos can turn up sha. Adewale Ajayi is a confirmed mad-man. Jessica Amadi should have been a choreographer, Busayo Olowokere is.....,Tobi, Jane where fun too.
We had to force Phemmy Adetula to dance, Rotimi Akindele refused to come to the dance floor while AY Suga, well...was being AY Suga.
I won't post pictures of the party before someone uses it to blackmail me.
China Acheru was nowhere to but found. Maybe he was hunting for dog meat and palm-wine somewhere in town.
Hopefully the Super Eagles will give us cause to celebrate again when they defeat the Bafana Bafana.
More stories later. Day One was okay...hopefully Day Two will be better.