My unpublished Super Eagles Uyo diary

I actually wrote this diary on Friday, September 1, 2017 and was about to publish when a series of unfortunate incidents ensured I did not. However, thank goodness all is not lost and i am publishing it unedited.

i actually initially titled it, "My Super Eagles Uyo Diary Day 1: My Uyo nightmare.

No one is as excited as they were last time when we were all here for the game against South Africa.

At least not every one and they are truly not hiding the fact that they are not as excited and as enthusiastic.

The truth is as much as a lot of die hard Nigerians would want to play hard ball, they know deep down in their hearts that the Cameroonians are here for no tea party.

Nigeria may have a 4 point cushion at the top of their qualifying table but worst case scenario it could be 1 point by Friday night and we could be 2 points behind the Cameroonians by Monday.

That is how apprehensive the people are in this town and they have not hidden it.

Between the Nigeria Football Federation and the Akwa Ibom State government, security at the Super Eagles hotel, I hear was heightened with extra deployment of Department of State Security, DSS and soldiers?

When we were here for the game against South Africa, there was DSS involved in security at the hotel and when one of them told me they were sent there to ensure the Eagles stayed focused on the game, my response to him was that we love to put pressure on ourselves.

My thinking then was that, we had played against Zambia and Algeria in Uyo and if we suddenly had DSS shoving people around against South Africa, it would create the impression that there was something eerily different about the game, the cause of pressure sometimes.

But I digress. We lost to Bafana, didn’t we?

I didn’t for once go to the Super Eagles hotel because I am not big on sycophancy and eye service which was what I thought the DSS official would portray in a bid to show their employers that they were doing a good job.

I'd have to be careful at the press conference room though
Over packed press room in Uyo

But my Uyo nightmare actually has nothing to do with the game but what happened the last time I was in this town for a League match.

It was one between Akwa United and Enyimba and after the game we went as usual to the conference room for the post match rituals.

There were about 12- 15 of us there and as I placed my recorder in front of the coaches, I stepped back a bit, asked 2 questions then listened to the responses of the coaches to the others.

At some point, an Uyo based journalist standing next to me, asked permission to use my glasses case to hold his recorder in place.

After the press conference we all left the stadium as the former media officer of the home club, Uwem Ekoh dropped me off at my hotel.

As soon as I got to the hotel I realised I had left my glasses at the stadium’s conference room and immediately put a call to the media officer of the club, Mfon Patrick who told me to back to get it with assurances that it would be in there as he trusted his journalists.

To cut the long story really short I never got it back. Even when I spoke with the likes of Promise Etim who all assured that no Uyo based journalist would have picked it up, I never got a positive response.

I loved those glasses and it casing. It also cost me a fortune. But whoever took it and thought he had made a conquest is a complete fool because he can’t even wear them.

It is going to be a mad house for this game with at least 100 journalists from all over the country. One has to be careful.

Having cleared that off my chest, I left Port Harcourt as usual early on Thursday morning to Uyo and after managing to go past the Akpajo-Eleme terror road, it was smooth driving to Uyo.

Ekine Moseph, Queen John, Fisayo Dairo, Emeka Dennar and Bibian Onwugbolu from Port Harcourt were already on ground.

I had no plans to go the to Super Eagles Hotel, I never do on the eve of games so I just stayed indoors to continue to monitor something important

Transfer Deadline Day

I had more than 100 Gigabytes of data on my Mifi so I had been streaming Skysports News all the way from Port Harcourt checking if my club, Liverpool had signed Thomas Lemar or Virgil Van Dirj.

When I got into my apartment, my protege, Ekine Moseph came visiting and we discussed the European Transfer Deadline Day, analyzed what we thought were incoming transfers and asked ourselves some tough questions.

Why can’t we have Transfer Deadline Day in Africa?

I reminded Moseph that the South Africans had Transfer Deadline Day that aligned with that of Europe and he pointed out that the Egyptians had something of that nature and we wondered why we were not that organized in Nigeria.

I let him know that in thought we thrived on disorganization and pointed out that there are lots of people in the Nigerian football scene that make fortunes because of disorganization and would fight with their lives to see that Nigerian football is not as organized as it is so they can continue their racketeering.

In any case, we followed the Transfer Deadline Day as much as we could until the rest of the contingent from Port Harcourt arrived – Carl Orakwue, Tonye Orabere, IK Wigodo, Sammy Omaenikun, Okey Onwugbonu, Faith Oluchi, Gabriel Nwanetanya, Uche Abugo, Oluwafemi Balogun and a few others.

Stadium for accreditation
Waiting to get accredited 

Rooms taken (I had reserved 20 rooms at this hotel two weeks ago because the Port Harcourt contingent had sequestered it last year) we rested a bit before heading out for accreditation and to watch the Cameroonians train.

Naturally, it was a closed session so you would only be permitted to watch the first fifteen minutes and off you go.

It was the Super Eagles next and the same thing was first fifteen minutes and off we went.

As usual, the NFF media team would delay the start of accreditation and keep people waiting so it was not until 7:30 pm that the whole process started.

Tags in hand, we were off to end the day.

A great reunion
Arafat Aliu had "boycotted" Super Eagles games for a while

It was great to see Oluwashina Okeleji again. We have great history together since 2004 when we both wrote for a man called Wilson Bodise and and great memories working together.

It was also good to see Arafat Aliu again. I hadn’t seen him at a Super Eagles game since the time late Stephen Keshi was coach in 2012/13.

Lolade, formerly of was also present and it was great to see him.

But like I keep saying, that is what these games are for. Aside from the fact that we all come here to get news for our newspapers, blogs, radio and TV shows, it is also a great re-union for colleagues, some of whom get to meet just on the field.

Nigerians like over sabi
Man in jeans and hooded sweat shirt instructed refs not to take pictures

Something happened while we were walking into the stadium. The match officials also walked in at that point and some journalists stopped them to take pictures which they obliged.

Suddenly, their guide, a Nigerian, I think from the home state, suddenly turned around, looked at what was happening and from about 20 meters shouted in and angry voice, “Hey! Stop taking those pictures! Leave that place now.”

And I got really angry.

I walked up to the fellow and asked him if he thought those referees were kids or if they had no right to stop and take pictures with people who requested.

Because Nigerians are really like this.

But that was just me being… fill up the blank spaces.

Dinner with Uche and the crew

Uche Abugo was a Port Harcourt based Sports broadcaster and had threatened to host the team from Port Harcourt in Uyo. This threat had been going on for about 3 weeks and the time was nigh.

Even though some of us thought we were tired after the long day, Tonye Orabere decided we should just honour a person who wants to host us by attending it and so we all went.

Gabriel Nwanetanya was to drive the bus and couldn’t make it but he later thought he would just drop us there and then we find our way back.

He later said he could stay 30 minutes with us but eventually we were there for more than one hour.

I will not say what happened at Uche’s place. Just the pictures that speak thousands of words.

Dinner at Uche Abugos

Oluwafemi Balogun in black, Okey Onwugbonu engrossed and Uche Abugo hides the ball in his stomach

The CEO bloggers, Ekine Moseph acting like he is not interested in the lem

After the meal, veterans like Carl Orakwue, Gabriel Nwanetanya and Tonye Orabere had to step down

My night cap 

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