Flying Eagles World Cup diary- August 2


“Hold something! Hold something!!”
– that’s the common chorus around the team these days and the champion of this phrase besides Ahmed Musa is lively team bus driver Juan.

Even when he is cruising his luxury bus through the narrow, winding roads here, he will hoot his car horn and shout out those words to the delight of the whole group.
His other favourite pastime is to always be on the lookout for Sani Emmanuel.

Because he cannot speak a word of English, he always demonstrates with his hands about Emmanuel by the player’s James Brown afro hair.

He was the most excited man at the Estadio Centenario when Emmanuel was brought in as a late substitute on Sunday.

Juan and some Nigerian officials were also stars at least for a couple of hours on Sunday at the Guatemala game as they were inundated with requests after requests to take photographs by Colombian and even Guatemala fans at the stadium.

The top police woman attached to the team looked very much at home in a Nigerian tracksuit pant and a white national team jersey on match day. Her husband, a major in the police, is also attached to Saudi Arabia and so they are often seen together.

And on Tuesday, team liaison officer and Dunga look-alike, Diego, trained on the five-a-side pitch in the hotel along with goalkeeper Gideon Gambo and Chimezie Mbah.
The locals assisting the Flying Eagles have really bonded with the team.

The Muslim Ramadan month of fasting has begun and all the Muslim players like Ahmed Musa, skipper Ramon Azeez and Abduljaleel Ajagun as well as officials are observing it.

Coach Obuh, who has for most part of his coaching career worked in the Muslim north of Nigeria – Katsina, Kano and Bauchi – has insisted the decision to fast or not to fast rested on the individuals.

He told them to be fully convinced about what they are doing and if that were the case, there will be no problems.

The Saudis, who are also at the same hotel, are also observing the Ramadan.
The Muslims are allowed to have early breakfast not later than 4.30am and then break their fast by 6.18pm every day.

Cheering news is that NFF boss, Aminu Maigari, has finally joined the team in Armenia after flight connection difficulties.

Maigari was his lively self and full of jokes when he chatted away about his journey, which began Friday and only ended on Monday night...

Colombia’s top TV station Caracol has former international Faustino ‘El Tino’ Asprilla as special guest on a breakfast show anchored by three beautiful women on Monday.

‘El Tino’ has retained his boyish looks, but looks a few kilogrammes overweight.
He is such fun even when he is openly questioned about some of his romantic flings at the height of his career.

He now lives in his own sprawling ranch, complete with horses, farmland and swimming pool made possible by the money he made in a career that took him across such clubs like Colo Colo, Parma and Newcastle United.

News from Nigeria of Davidson Owumi’s final sack as chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) by an Abuja court is well received in camp as it was the NFF arbitration panel, which ruled that Owumi was not eligible to contest for the top NPL post.

The boys keep themselves busy by playing table tennis and snookers at the hotel. Striker Omo Ojabu is the tennis king so far.

The team get a chance to watch the first half of the Guatemala game before Monday night training. The training is for an hour under floodlights at the Estadio San Jose.

They watch the second half Tuesday afternoon, again before training with Obuh pointing out some of their mistakes in the 5-0 pounding of the Central Americans.
Both the mayors of Armenia and neighbouring Montenegro have specially invited the Flying Eagles to meet their communities.

The officials are looking at how best to attend these events without distracting them from their main goal of topping Group D and so earning the right to stay put in Armenia, which has really become a home away from home for everyone involved with the team.

There is therefore a special interest in the Group F match between England and Argentina Monday night.

The winner of Group D will meet the third best from Groups B, E, F and this could well be England if all goes to script
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