Diary of Enugu, Day 2: Oha soup is better than Bitter leaf

Nigerian League legend, Victor Ezeji picks Niger Tornadoes out of the pot
Today is a match free day but I know I’m going to be busy almost all day because of the schedule I had already made out for myself.

Remember, the Victor Ezeji Testimonial comes up in exactly one week from today and that was one of the reasons I and Victor Ezeji decided to come for the Super 4.

We had fixed a meeting with Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf, also known as Fresh and he said we should be at his hotel about 9 am.

Incidentally he was housed in the same hotel as the club chairmen and other League Management Company senior officials so it was obvious I was going to meet with other people too.

Well, we saw Fresh and had a good discussion with him of which he said we should come back in twenty four hours for feedback which we promised we would.

Eguma loves to be praised

I had to see my good friend, Doctor Wachukwu of Rivers United and my next stop was at their hotel which incidentally was close to mine.

On my way up the stairs I met Donald Egemba, also known as Dero on the stairway with Stanley Eguma.

Dero is a known supporter of Enyimba but living and doing his business in Port Harcourt for so long, he was known to all.

I stopped Eguma and told him I thought he had a good team and at the mention of that, he stopped to listen to me.

I told Eguma that I he had a good team. I said even the first game his side lost to Rangers did not take anything away from them because they played some good football which I had hardly seen from them before.

I continued that the win against FC Ifeanyi Ubah showed that it would be an interesting season ahead as his team was now in my books, one of the contenders for a title challenge.

He gave me a mile long grin showing he approved of what I said, but I was not finished yet.

I said, “Coach, now that I have called to praise you, I guess you are happy? If your team had played badly and I had said the truth about your team, you would have said I am fighting you, right?”

Eguma laughed and said he had always known me to be objective in my speaking, but I had said what I said. The team is currently playing well. If they play badly at some point in the season I will point it out to him too.’’

Club mascots getting ready for the event
Return for the draws

At eight o clock at night I was back to the Golden Royale Hotel to witness the draws for the league.

I was aware that some people criticized the League Management Company for holding public draws for the league rather than just prepare it and send out to the clubs and media.

Some other people wondered why the LMC released just the draws for week 1 and not for the full season but all these just showed that a few of our journalists are not well informed.

Firstly, we do not have to do everything like Europe. Even though we try to emulate them since they are a leading light we must still have our peculiarities.

There is a reason why we hold public draws for the league.

Nigerians still do not trust for one another and the League could be accused of rigging the draws to favour a team or two so it is best done in public. 

According to Shehu Dikko, “It's a tradition here that suites us as it makes everything transparent and of course we have an event to create value, especially for our sponsors, TV and media partners etc. Note in those days when draws where not made publicly clubs always complain of manipulation to either support some or deny some. But now the open draws where every club picked their fixture transparently has eliminated this and of course has created some excitement and buzz for the league.”

And to those that thought the full fixtures were not made public, they were.

For example, after the draws on Saturday night, Emeka Nwani came to me and said they (Rangers) will play Plateau United in Week 38 but will not need that match because they would have won the League by week 36.

The full fixtures were made on Saturday up till week 38.

Again, according to Shehu Dikko, “People are just focusing on week one fixtures because it's the opening week but every person at the draw has a booklet containing fixtures in numbers up to week 38.”

We fixed appointments with Barrister Danladi Isaac of Nasarawa United, Dominc Iorfa, the BOT chairman of the League, Emeka Inyama of Abia Warriors, Chuma Ubah of Ifeanyi Ubah and Felix Anyansi Agwu of Enyimba.

It certainly means we would be at the hotel again in the morning before the final round of matches for the Super 4.

Did I forget to say when I had lunch earlier in the day I tried Oha soup as the Enugu bitter leaf soup tasted like goat dung?

Yes I did… and the oha soup was a much better experience.

LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko backed by a bevy of beauties

Miss Nigeria Football was there to grace the occasion 

The stage was set before the event

Earlier in the day... The Oha soup looked and tasted better than the Bitter leaf

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