My Super Falcons Cameroon diary: Hmmm, the NFF and Dalung

By Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam

It is the penultimate day of the 10th Women's Africa Cup of Nations, and I am already looking forward to going home, but I'm not done with my mission here.

Today, we got to the stadium at about 12:30, so we could get our SADs, after which we waited for kick off. It was a boring wait by the way. But I was not idle all the same.

There was an option of going to the Super Falcons training, but I didn't want to miss the game between Ghana and South Africa either.

The match was really tight but, Ghana eventually found a breakthrough. Linda Eshun's header.

I felt for South Africa. I wanted them to claim the third place for their coach at least, but that did not happen.

I had the mixed zone tag, so I went there after finishing up my match report. I missed Ghana players, but was able to speak to some South Africans. They all felt luck was not on their side in the tournament.

We wanted to go back to the hotel so we could freshen up ahead of the 8pm dinner that the Minister of Communication, Issa  Bakare had organised for journalists. However, it was already late and we could be caught up in traffic.

So just the way we were, we had to join the bus from the stadium to the venue of the dinner.

We waited there for one hour, before the Minister arrived with his pretty wife, and the host of the evening finally talked into the microphone. The Minister gave his speech, and we had a toast, before going for food.

We then watched a cultural dance and a blind man sing, before Janine, Jessica and I left for the hotel at 11pm.

Day 17

Before today, the fever of the Women's Africa Cup of Nations 2016 final had already gripped Yaounde and the country at large. Well, the tournament itself has been amazing in terms of turnouts at the stadium, but having the hosts, Cameroon in the final, an overflow was expected.

We (journalists) had already been advised to be at the stadium by 9am. The LOC member who had taken us to see the Minister of Communication the other day, kept sounding it in our ears with the patchy English he could mutter.

We arrived at the stadium just around 10 this morning. Jessica, Janine, Cecilia, Bidemi and I, were all in one taxi, and having our tags helped us go past three road blocks leading directly to the stadium.

Uniformed men were all over the place. From long distances, people trekked to the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, since cars were not allowed beyond certain points.

Still, the crowd outside the stadium was overwhelming. And the military men managed the long queues, comprising mostly Cameroonian fans, well enough.

We were not through the main gate in the car, so we had to alight. That gave us the opportunity to take photos and videos of the scenes outside. But the most interesting thing was, the stadium itself was almost full. And then we wondered where the ones outside would stay.

The CAF bus for journalists arrived at the main gate of the stadium, and we hopped in. But it was not also allowed through the other two gates/checkpoints, even when the LOC member that was with us, explained that we were all journalists. So we came down and had our bags and all, checked before finally going in.

The sound of vuvuzelas, the screech of whistles filled the atmosphere and there were mostly green, red and yellow scattered all over. Small Cameroon flags stuck into empty seats and lots of others already being waved by spectators. We found out that people started trooping into the stadium since 5am.

There were no gate fees but invites. But that does not undermine the love the Cameroonians have shown for their Women's national team all through the tournament.

The gates were eventually closed at 11am and those who could not enter flooded viewing centres.

Yaounde was at a standstill as many wanted to witness history.

Fans in the stadium, including the few Nigerians, were treated to live performances as they awaited the arrival of Cameroon President, Paul Biya.

The match started at 3:30. It was as intense as expected with Cameroon doing most of the attacking, while Nigeria did most of the defending. However, the one real chance Nigeria had, Oparanozie put the game to bed. She silenced the intimidating Cameroonians and gave Nigerians a voice at that time as they lifted their eighth title.

I feel blessed to have been a part of it all, from being in the midst of such a mammoth crowd, to emerging champion as a Nigerian.

But, Again, how could the Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung and NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, come around, and fail to see the Super Falcons?

Well, we went to the Super Falcons hotel after the match, before going back to our hotel.
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  1. Just want to thank you for writing the diary and bringing the tournament life to readers. I truly enjoyed it and I can tell that you enjoyed the tournament. Keep up the good work.