My Super Eagles Uyo Diary Day 2: More party than football?

Today is the day before the big game and all our thoughts were on what happens on the match day, well, at least some of us who were here for the actual football.

Day was packed already. For me it would be breakfast first, then go to George Essien’s Workshop for aspiring sport journalists and teach on how to report Nigerian sports. I also had plans to go collect my accreditation tag, binge on movies, go out and eat dog meat porridge, return, binge on more movies, be part of a party, finish off, then binge on more movies before Saturday when we play South Africa.

You know it is easy to plan but mother nature and life tells you she has her own plans, right?

First thing I did when I got up from bed pretty early was to put up blog posts and videos.

Miyen Akiri came to me asking for sound clips from the press conference and I let him have them.
Miyen trying to grab some Pork

While doing that he told me he watched a video and noticed we had “abundance” of palm wine and pork. He was in luck. There was still some in the fridge and the pork chops were not finished yet so he grabbed the rest.

Suddenly I heard a knock on my door and when I opened up it was one of the guys from Lagos, I think Kingsley who said he had just watched a video and didn’t know we also had pork.

Kingsley shared the palm wine the previous day in my room but did not know we had pork.

I told him he was seven minutes late as Miyen had grabbed the rest of it. He soon dashed off. Where he went or what he did thereafter, I do not know.

GIE lectures
I soon fixed up a cup of coffee, Benson Clement from Radio Nigeria, Port Harcourt had knocked on my door to deposit six loaves of bread and a tin of sardines and that was breakfast.

Emeka Dennar stopped by and we just chatted.

At 8:30 I was ready to leave since my class would be 9 o clock and if I was going to teach young journalists to be maestros, then the least I could do would be to first let them know the importance of punctuality.
At the GIE Lecture

Ufuoma’s car had to be fixed so we met him outside with his mechanic and they dropped us off at the venue of the event, the NUJ Press Center at Information Drive.

Only three out of the nine students were there when I arrived.

It was a nice time out sharing my experiences with them since 1980 till present day. Question time over and we were done.

Arrival of the Port Harcourt contingent

So I was taking a nap when my phone started buzzing. From the names showing on my screen I knew the Port Harcourt contingent had arrived.

There were Gabriel Nwanetanya of the Tide, Olalekan Ige of Independent Monitor, Sopriala Bobmanuel of RSTV, Moseph Ekine of Nigeria Football Plus, Carl Orakwue of Garden City Radio, Sanipe Damiete, Okey Onwugbonu, Benjamin Okenna Sawadinho, Faith Oluchi, Jessica Amadi, Martins Giadom, Jim Udede, Tonye Orabere, Peter Abaje and maybe a few others I may have missed.

After they took their rooms we went out for lunch and while there, got information that accreditation tags were being issued at the Super Eagles hotel but would be continued at the Stadium so we returned to our hotel, picked up our colleagues and headed to the stadium where we saw the crowd of sports journalists coming for the game.

Lunch was great

Now the journey to lunch was a great story on its own. We had a bus load of people, Myself, Lekan Ige, Ufuoma Egbamuno, Sanipe Damiete, Gabriel Nwanetanya, Lekan Ige, Benjamin Sawadinho Okenna, Carl Orakwue, Benson Clement, Tonye Orabere and Okey Onwugbonu and we thought, lets go get the dog porridge then grab some lunch.

After driving around Uyo and not see a sign post that said there was dog porridge ready and the directions given to us not clear enough we decided to jettison that idea and look for a proper meal.

We decided on Flavour kitchen, recommended to us by Saatah Nubari last time we were here.
Flavour kitchen, since 1977

We also hear that place has existed since 1877, wow!!!

After the meal it was time to pay and leave for the stadium. We had barely driven off when Tonye Orabere exclaimed that he had left his mobile phone on the table and we all began to tease him as Gabriel, who was driving was trying to make a U-turn back to the restaurant.

The loudest was Benjamin Sawadinho Okenna who went on and on teasing Tonye and Sanipe in turn teased Sawadinho that he would have in turn forgotten his room keys if he had come with them.

Sawadinho laughed and said he didn’t even come with his room keys any way and continued to tease Tonye for forgetting his handset.

As we returned to Flavour kitchen, Emeka Dennar alighted from the bus and saw the mobile phone, picking it up, I sighted the sales girl running towards him from inside the restaurant seemingly pointing at him.

My first thought was that she just saw a random person picking up a phone and wanted to stop him but we were wrong.

She was actually running towards the bus to return some one’s hotel room keys, forgotten after eating.

Guess who it was that forgot his room key? Benjamin Okenna Sawadinho of Supersport.

In any case, we went to the stadium and there I met with Shina Okeleji, Tola Badekale, Femi Adetula and a whole lot of other people as most of the discussion was bordered on what was special about this game that had generated so much interest from Nigerians and the sporting media.

Olalekan Ige told me he had already purchased forty tickets for his friends who would fly in from Lagos on Match Day morning, just to watch the game and go back to Lagos and there were people calling from all over the country making inquiries about the game and how to get tickets as well as hotel reservations.

So what was it about the Eagles this time that every one wanted to watch?

The pre-match press conference held in an over crowded room, first the South Africans and then then Nigerians with Imama Amapakabo and Ogenyi Onazi present.

After that our tags were collected and it was back to the hotel for the next phase.

Party, party everywhere
It seemed like a carnival atmosphere in Uyo. A lot of people were talking about the game between Nigeria and South Africa but many more where talking about one party or the other.

A whatsapp group had planned to party till they drop and members were in Uyo in their numbers and the third question they mostly asked after introduction and knowing you are part of the whatsapp group was always, “Shey you dey come for the party?”

I had spoken about hosting my friends from Port Harcourt who were interested to a meal of dog porridge on Friday afternoon and only Emeka Dennar and Tonye Orabere were interested as well as Tobi Adepoju were but that did not hold anymore due to logistics reasons.
The Rivers Sports journalists' hangout

Finally, Lekan Ige had informed on the Port Harcourt sports journalists whatsapp group that he would host all of us to a night groove of fish pepper soup and drinks, a cause I donated 4 litres of palm wine to.

So the people around me were not going to write any pre-match reports or match previews on Friday night but would be partying till they drop.

All thirty rooms were taken in our hotel, a mixture of the Port Harcourt press, Lagos, Jane from Enugu and Andrew Randa from Minna.

From eight o clock folks were out in groups discussing their movement to whatever party they were going to attend but we just stayed put because we had our own thing coming up.

Jessica Amadi and Faith Oluchi, however went for the Whatsapp party while Emeka Dennar killed two birds with one stone. Stayed for ours, then left midway for the other one.

It is time to crash. We have a big game on Saturday. Hopefully, the Eagles win or all these parties would count for nothing.

Sipping some coconut juice after the lecture

When i punished Faith Oluchi at the hotel for being rude to me
Lekan Ige turning over some palm wine for Ekine Moseph
Breakfast of champions 

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