My Jordan Diary, Day 6: Meeting the owner of Bristol Rovers FC

By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

I have always known Monday to be the first working day of the week, but it is actually the second here in Jordan and I woke up looking forward to the start of the second round of group matches at the FIFA U17 Women's World Cup.

Also we would be having a visitor in class, the Jordanian owner of Bristol Rovers, a third tier club in England, Wael Al-Qadi. Sonja had sent that information in an email to us the day before.

Breakfast was as usual, and then there was class, where I noticed I was yawning incessantly, dabbing from time to time the tears that welled up in my eyes as a result.

Riccardo used me as an example in class while explaining how to approach an interview with a coach or a player who had just lost a match and is probably not in the right mood to grant any interviews or give out much.

Start from the subtle and more relaxing questions before going into the likes of "why did you say your players were frightened by the name 'Brazil'", as you wind up. Because you must realise that the interview is not about you.

Afterwards, he asked us what we would do when reporting certain situations with regards to speed and accuracy, using the Patrick Muamba incident of March 2012 when he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch during a televised FA Cup match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur.

It was concluded that speed threatens accuracy, especially with virtually everyone wanting to BREAK the news.

In spite of speed, however, it is non-negotiable to establish the facts of an incident in your reportage.

The Jordanian owner of League One club in England, Bristol Rovers, Wael Al-Qadi was our special guest on the day. He grew up in London watching a lot of Chelsea games and he credits football for saving his life from certain things teenagers at that time were into.

He tried to play football but wasn't good at it and so he has dedicated himself to the development of the sport especially in Jordan.

The Banker by profession who insists that banking is conservative, explained that one of the reasons he bought Bristol Rovers was to give Jordanian football stars the opportunity to play abroad.

Well, in all of his busy schedule, he is not the best family man you can think of.

According to him "my wife, before I married her, I told her 'it's football and football and football then you' and she agreed." Football will always come before his child's graduation ceremony.

The Al Hassan International Stadium in Irbid, where group A matches would take place was my destination for the day. All of us who had been assigned there had our lunch packed as we embarked on our 2 hour bus drive.

I watched the first match between Spain and New Zealand since I was working on an article on the Kiwis.

From the start, it was so predictable that they were not going to make it beyond the group stage and even if they held Spain goalless for over 80 minutes, their resilience snapped in the last 10 minutes plus additional time as they conceded two.

They were indeed brave, but bravery was obviously not enough.

And so, I needed to understand why they were so dominant in Oceania but always fail to replicate that form on the world stage.

While the game was going on, I had my story outlined, and then at the Press Conference I asked coach Gareth Turnbull my question which I used in the article.

Honestly, because of the FIFA rules, it's quite difficult getting clear sounds because you cannot place your recording device on the table in front of the coaches or players talking.

So here I was stretching my arm  a little bit towards the nearest loud speaker from where I sat.

Then a photographer came from behind to my side and started releasing shutter sounds into my recording. Oh well. He was eventually told to go back by an official standing by.

My day at Irbid was eventually capped by the fact that Jordan got their first ever goal at a Women's World Cup through No 10, Sarah Abu Sabbah, whose father was later interviewed by two of our AIPS Young Reporters from Jordan, Heba and Farah.

It was the first goal of the match which Jordan lost 4-1 to Mexico, but that did not douse the emotions running through on the historical night for the host country.

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