|Touch down Kalinigrad|
Match Day was cool, had to wake up early to do some interviews with a few Nigeria stations ( I go soon begin charge, Russia expensive) breakfast and then a dash to the airport for the flight to Kalinigrad where the Eagles were due to play Croatia.
Oh! I promised to tell y’all about how one of us almost got deported yeah?….
Well turns out that her FAN ID read her gender as ‘male’ instead of ‘female’. The guys at the Russian Immigration were threatening to put her back on the plane.
Wasn’t a nice sight at all but kudos to the representative of the Nigerian Immigration Service who was able to sort the issue out and she was able to join us at the bus park.
How dem go say you fly half way across the world and then you go begin go house? No be her portion lai lai.
An hour later we were at the hotel and settled. St Petersburg is a beautiful city and the people are quite nice and warm. Only challenge was a few could communicate in English but luckily, technology has been of immense help.
Ehen, back to match day things.
Got to Kalinigrad and headed straigh to the stadium where I picked up my accreditation alongside the big guns - Ade Okeijere, Moraks Abondunrin, Kayode Tijani, Tony Ubani and others.
That sorted, I had to head out to the media centre to get my photo tag and then settled. I met Ayo Ibidapo, Samm Audu, Kisu Sulola, Franchis Achi and Calvin Emeka at the media centre.
A few bants here and there and then I decided to go get sme food. For my mind I been thin say na free (usual practice for media folks) but alas na dia wahala start.
Kabiru Abubakar (Zamora) also joined me and after picking up what we wanted to eat, I realised I had to pay.
I had no cash. I wanted to pay with dollars but Russian chick said ‘No’.
Card nko? She said no wahala. I tried paying with my card but alas, I had a MasterCard. No show.
Reason? Visa, who are partners with FIFA do not accept Mastercards in and around the stadium complex.
Kabiru had same issue. I elected to go back and drop the food but rule is once it gets n your plate, they can’t put it back.
I felt stupid and helpless at that point but then AY came to our rescue. He gave her a 1000 rouble note and then I dropped the bottle of coke I had earlier picked up so as to make the balance fall within the money we had.
I decided to use my boyish charm on the lady. After flirting with her for fifty seconds or so, her heart opened up to this fine black hunk.
Na so she say make we waka say I go pay her next time we meet. I too much sha.
Took my place behind Uzoho for the first half and was shooting away. The Eagles looked disjointed from where I was pitch side. There was too much spaces around the midfield area from my pitch-side view.
The body language wasn’t right too and then ‘boom’ Croatia scored.
|Mikel and Leon having a go at it.|
Leon Balogun was quite vocal and seemed the only one ready to kill himself out there. We eventually lost 2-0. Nigerians at the stadium were disappointed. Long faces was all I saw on my way out while Croatian fans (in their numbers) were having mini-parties to celebrate their win.
Finding my way to where the bus to take me and the other guys to the airport was also an issue. I had lost track of our location.
|Camera man 'exposed' me.|
It took nearly 45 minutes to locate the bus. We did and then we were off to the airport for the flight back to St. Petersburg (our regional headquarters).
I was tired, knackered and super hungry.
We eventually got back to the hotel around 5 am and I was off to bed.
Touring St Petersburg.
I love travelling and seeing new places. I also love exploring different cultures and architecture- that was what I did the day after the loss.
Jane Nweze, Yinka Elebute and I went out to look for what to eat (I wanted chicken, a KFC type chicken meal).
Off we went to find a spot which was a bit difficult. We saw a bit of the town as we toured the town and then got to a super-market where I saw a small restaurant in the shop.
The had stuff that looked familiar. I picked Jollof rice and chicken while Jane had a bit as well with salad. My joy at the jollof turned to horror as it tasted ‘one kain’.
It was bland, no taste, no salt and I forgot my ‘yaji’ in Naija.
This is a plea to others coming to Russian. Please make una hold better pepper. Well garnished pepper to spice up whatever you are going to eat here.
|Looks good but tastes bad|
Back to the hotel and more interviews with a few stations back home.
Day was mad when a Mexican lady decided she wanted my company. She spoke good English and we really had a good time talking football, culture and a few other things.
We exchanged numbers and planned to do a city tour next day to see more parts of the town.
It was a beautiful day.
I hope the rest of the days goes same.
Ehen, before I forget. I had always wanted to watch/report a World Cup from pitch-side and thanks to Ademola Olajire and the NFF, it was made possible. The energy on the field is something you don’t get working from the stands (which is usual my forte).
|Pitch side during the game.|
It was amazing to be honest. You could hear the players breathing. I don’t know about others but I found it enthralling.
World Cup no be beans.
That’s all for today until my next diary.
I don waka