My Super Eagles Uyo diary, Day 3: Blue day in Uyo

Saturday turned out a blue day in Uyo as a rag tag Super Eagles side lacking character in every sense of the word fell like a pack of cards to “our former wives” the Bafana Bafana.

But at the start of the day who would have thought it would happen.

The day began with Sanipe Damiete and Benjamin Okenna Sawadinho arranging their bet slips in my room and they both went for accumulators.

As they reeled through all the major games they would place bets on, the one that amused me was they both went for a straight win for Nigeria.

If I had placed bets I would have also thought Nigeria would win but knowing that the South Africans have for a long time played better football than us but were only over powered by our brute force I would have taken some time to pause, think and listen to my inner mind.

Maybe a double chance for South Africa would have sufficed for that game or simply over 1.5. However I wasn’t betting but those who were thought they would win big from the Nigeria v South Africa game.

Time for break fast and most of the guys converged in my room for coffee. There were Carl Orakwue, Peter Abaje, Sanipe Damiete, Emeka Dennar, Benson Clement, Andy Randa and later Idongesit Ikono who is based in Uyo but had come to visit.

Tunde Bello arrived from Port Harcourt at about 10 am with Kingsley Ogar, Queen John and Fisayo Dairo in his contingent and having promised to host all the Port Harcourt based journalists in Uyo to an early lunch we decided to converge in his room.
Lunch feast provided by Tunde Bello

It was home prepared eba or semovita and Afang soup.

Our tastes buds lighted up so much that by the time we were through at about 12.30 pm I moved a motion to appoint Tunde Bello a patron of the Rivers State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN for the warm gesture and the house passed it. He was henceforth declared a patron.

Remember, I talked about the massive turn out of people in Uyo, especially press men? The worst thing about that stadium is that the Media Tribune sits only about thirty people when it should sit three hundred at the least.

We planned to depart for the stadium at 1pm and Tunde Bello protested that it would be too early for a game kicking off at 5pm but our minds were made up so we did.

Empty stadium, horrible display

All the frenzy of the last five days died right there in the stadium as the apparent lack of organisation was evident.

First, the NFF, Akwa Ibom State government or whoever was contracted to run the game obviously thought it was a big match, even bigger than the game against Algeria and any other game we had played before and hired enough security to take out Pablo Escobar or a feared terrorist leader in a forest.

From ordinary police, to mobile police and then the DSS as well as bouncers were all there flounting their guns and muscles and in some cases harassing people (some were quite polite anyway).

Then the tickets I hear, had doubled in price from the last game (in this recession o) and to add salt to injury they did not start selling until the eve of the game because they “were scared of duplication.”

What manner of country are we? Then I heard later that the NFF did not have balls to prosecute the match and had to “beg” the South Africans to use their own balls that were branded RSA (Republic of South Africa).

Truth be told, our elders says, “Morning maketh the day” and it was clear from as early as 1.30pm that things were not going right.

Well, we all watched the game and saw what happened. Since this is not a match report I do not have to go further on the game.

By the time the game was fifteen minutes old I told Sanipe and Okey Onwugbonu who sat close to me that the South Africans were clearly better than us and I had my doubts we could win.

At the end of the first half I wrote my headline for my match report and titled it, “Bafana Bafana break Eagles’ hearts once again”

Mr. and Mrs. Egbamuno
I also typed the first first four paragraphs during the half time break. Tunde Bello, Sanipe Damiete and a few other people saw me writing my match report then and “accused” me of not being loyal but it was what it was.

Ufuoma Egbamuno did not careless anyway when the game ended. He had Mrs. Egbamuno with him.

I did not even have to attend the post match meeting in the worst Stadium conference room in the world.

Benson Clement would go in and if he survives suffocation, then we will get copies of the audio from him.

It was dinner after that and we all (a few of us) converged in Tunde Bello’s room for drinks while we discussed the game.

Obviously, Sanipe was still bitter he lost his bet. Tunde Bello and I, couldn’t care less. For Fisayo, he just needed to analyse something.

It’s Enugu for me to see the game between Rangers and Akwa United and Emeka Nwani has already called me to say I should take all the good luck in the world to Enugu as Rangers must win.

I simply do not care. I killed my flesh to football between 1998 and 2002 when our football administrators destroyed, killed and buried Nigerian football. I just watch it, write it and report it but will not lose sleep or break sweat over it.

I should be back in Port Harcourt where the air tastes different.
After game relaxation at Tunde Bello's room

Post Match PRess Conference

Look at Sanipe singing the National anthem

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