Super Eagles update: Enter ticket racketeering

The two major highlights of Saturday, June 2, 2012 was the fact that the media men from all over the country invaded Calabar in full force and tickets for the match went on sale.

Save for a few like myself who had been here since Thursday, Lolade Adewuyi of and Kufre Ekpe who arrived on Friday, most of the journalists arrived on Saturday.

The majority of journalists coming from Lagos, Abuja and then Port Harcourt who were third in terms of numbers had flooded the U. J. Esuene Stadium waiting to get accredited for the match.

Incidentally, accreditation time clashed with the training time of the Namibians and we had our chance of watching them first hand.

A couple of journalists at the stadium quickly wrote off the Namibians because of their size and seeing naivety but certainly not me.

I had seen enough of football at International and club side level to make the mistake of writing off the Namibians because of their size and age.

Coach of the Namibian brave warriors, Bernard Kaanjuka bravely agreed that his team’s average age was more South than north.

According to him, the team have been together the last 6 years from the U17 ranks moving to the U20 ranks and then the U23 before moving to the senior national team.

“The thing with players this young,” Kaanjuka said is that they respond very well to whatever tactical approach I introduce to them.

“I purposely did not bring the older players because it would have been easier for Nigeria to win but the average age of this team is 23 and the youngest player her is 20 and I still insist that our advantage is that my players are younger than the Super Eagles.

“They are ready learn and they will overrun the Eagles,” Kaanjuka said.

Incidentally, Namibia are in Nigeria without four of their key players, all attack minded personnel but Kaanjuka says he will not in any way play defensively or change his philosophy.
Lazarus Kaimbi is banned for one game while the duo of Rudolf Vester and Jerome Louis are out with injuries.

Ticket racketeering at its best

Another issue that may deny fans entry into the stadium today is the fact that touts have taken over sales and prices have more than doubled.

Tickets were delivered on sale on Friday night and hit the streets on Saturday morning.

There are three categories, popular side that goes for five hundred naira each (about $3.1), VIP seating sells for three thousand naira (about $18.6) while state box extension was sold for five thousand dollars (about $31).

But these sales happened for only about three hours on Saturday morning.

At about 3pm popular side tickets were sold for 800 naira and VIP tickets were now 4000 naira while on Saturday night popular side tickets had increased to one thousand naira each.

By Sunday morning, it was even worse.

Will people afford the tickets? Will we have a full house at the stadium? Not at the rates tickets are going for.

But hopefully, the prices will knock down before the game and the people will not be too disinterested to return to the stadium.

Will it rain today? I believe the Nigeria Football Federation finally sought the services of a rain doctor.

Since I got to Calabar it had rained everyday starting from about 10am; today? Its 11 am and Calabar is still dry.

This is my last blog post until after the game so here’s wishing Nigeria’s Super Eagles the best of luck against Namibia.
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