Day 3 with Super Eagles: Rumours

I had to be in Calabar on Wednesday to observe for myself, Day 3 of activities in the Super Eagles camp as they prepare for Namibia, a crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

After my morning show on Cool FM, I was off to AKTC (Akwa Ibom Transport Company) but they had no buses and a crowd of at least 200 waiting.

Then I dashed off to Calculux at Elelenwo, still no vehicles but a crowd of about 50.

I made calls and found out that the Post UME exams hold at the University of Calabar and that why there was a rush to the town.

What was my next option? Wait for a vehicle or try somewhere else? I tried somewhere else, and I got Enarit but was late anyway. I got to Calabar at 5 pm and dashed straight to the U. J. Esuene stadium to observe the Eagles train.

Rumours and all
Now there are lots of issues surrounding the team, one of them being the rumour that made the rounds on Tuesday that Keshi was going to drop John Utaka and Victor Moses for their failure to score goals.

Keshi laughed it off as an annoying rumour and went on to wonder aloud where the media get those stories from.

In his own words, “Victor Moses scores goals, John Utaka scores. Besides if any of you know the way the Big Boss operates I do not talk about my players publicly like that.”

Yobo, Oduamadi out

Having cleared that off his chest, Keshi went on to confirm that the trio of Nnamdi Oduamadi, Ekigho Ehiosun and Joseph Yobo will not be part of his team on Saturday.

We know that Yobo has been out with an injury though he declared two weeks ago that he will be ready for Rwanda.

Keshi insists Yobo is still in Lagos and will not be part of the team. He however looked on the bright side of things.

“It’s time you the media give us credit for what we are doing with Nigerian football. Yobo, our captain fantastic is out yet we got a replacement that played equally as good.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to do by bringing in younger players and you all need to help me educate Nigerians on this project,” Keshi said.

“If we had not prepared the likes of Azubuike Egwueke and Godfrey Oboabona who would have played? Me? You? So you must give the young lads credit for being able replacements.”

Of course for Nnamdi Oduamadi and Ekigho Ehiosun, they were dropped from the travelling party before departure to Malawi and have not rejoined the team so far.

At the team’s hotel

After speaking with media officer, Ben Alaiya, we agreed that I come to the team’s Metropolitan Hotel camp at 7.30pm which I did.

I got there as soon as they were rounding up on dinner.

Victor Moses first walked past me not even looking up to say hello.

How could he have forgotten me so soon?

I remember a few months back in Abuja, when myself, Colin Udoh and Victor Anichebe tried to teach Moses how to speak pidgin English and do a hype for my radio show.

Simple words- Make una come argue o. My name na Victor Moses and I dey play for Wigan Athletic and Super Eagles. Make una listen to Football fans time for Cool FM. Took him a while. He still didn’t get it right.

But I digress.

Sunday Mba recognised me and walked up to say hello. He played for Dolphins two seasons ago before moving to Warri Wolves.

I teased him that I was sent by Dolphins with registration papers for him to sign for the club again but he said, God Forbid. I’m sure he was joking.

He shared his thoughts with me on the feeling in camp and how they want to go all out and destroy Rwanda on Saturday.

According to him, they had been in camp too long and the players were getting weary. They needed to just get Rwanda out of the way.

Vincent Enyeama walked past me, dialling a number on his phone. He looked up and did the traditional hand shake and “Good evening bros. How your side?” and I went, “I full ground remain.”

He was off outside the hotel lobby to make a phone call.

A few minutes later he was going up to his room.

I asked, “You dey go sleep just now?” and his reply was, “Bros you know say I be one player wey no dey stay out of my room late.” He said his good night and went up.

True, I’ve known Vincent since his Enyimba days and been with him at Super Eagles camps in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Benin. True to it he is hardly outside and is not loud in camp.

Next Stephen Keshi, Daniel Amokachi, Sylvanus Okpalla and Ike Shorunmu come out to watch the Germany V Netherlands game.

Ike stopped by me to ask league results concerning his own Shooting Stars and he looked disappointed when I told him Shooting lost to Sharks in Port Harcourt.

“Na robbing?” he asked. I told him I did not think so but I heard it was a very tough game for Sharks to win.

He shook his head and went to join his fellow coaches.

Next up, Alaiya

Media Officer of the national team, Ben Alaiya then walked up to me and we stepped outside to compare notes.

I was able to get an insight of a lot of happenings in the team. A lot of them off records of course.

Was able to get more understanding of the kind of man Stephen Keshi is, his vision for Nigerian football and how the players are reacting to the new regime.

I was able to book exclusive sessions with some key actors in the camp at a later date.

Other news from Day 3

Keshi spoke on some of the big stars that he has left out of his squad in the current qualifiers, saying they would be called back in due course when needed.
“I am in touch with most of the players that the media talks about and they support what we are doing here. Just imagine what would have happened if Joseph Yobo was the only experienced central defender that we have in the team, I would have been crucified. But we have close to five other players who can play that wing, though they may not have his experience, we must always have ready replacement for all the wings in the national team.

“The likes of Mikel, Yakubu, Osaze and many more are in the team and they will be called back in due cause, because they are still relevant and can add up to the quality we have in the team”, he said.

Enyeama Celebrates A Decade With Eagles

As world soccer governing body; FIFA, was celebrating two years to the start of the Brazil 2014 World Cup on June 12, the same day that Nigerians was marking democracy day, Super Eagles standin skipper, Vincent Enyeama, was also in celebration mood, as he officially marked a decade of his stay in the national team; Super Eagles.

Though, his first call up to the national team fall within the last week of May and the first two weeks of June 2002, Enyeama recalls with nostalgia his first day in the national team’s camp and how he tried to show that he was ready for action in the team, when infact he was just a rookie.

Head Coach of the national team, Stephen Keshi, while acknowledging Enyeama’s decade with the national team, challenged other players who are just cutting their teeth in the team to ensure that they maintain a regular shirts in the team, no matter who the handler of the team is.

“Enyeama, has just done ten years but we have John Utaka, who is over eleven years in the national team and they have been consistent in their national and club careers. That is what I want from players who are just starting. In ten years time I want to see most of us here showing the younger ones how to be national icons like we did in our days”, Keshi said amidst applause from Enyeama’s teammates.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles have adopted a shoot at sight approach to its upcoming Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda’s Amavbubi this Saturday in Calabar. Keshi said after watching his players bomb goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide and Chigozie AGbim with goals that he was sure that the team is gradually getting its goals scoring bearing.

“Once, we start scoring more than a goal there would be no stopping this team. Mark my words”, Keshi boasted on Wednesday afternoon.

Rain, rain go away

While getting all the news I could for my blog, it started raining heavy and I could not get out of the Eagles hotel to mine.

I had not eaten anything since I left home in Port Harcourt at 10am and it had started telling on me.

It continued to rain and I continued to wait.

When it eventually stopped at a quarter past ten there were no taxis available because the roads where flooded.

A lady who worked at the Arik Desk at Metropolitan offered to drop me off at my hotel but they got to a point and she chickened out because of the floods.

I thanked for her effort and decided to brave the rain and flood since that point was about 250 yards to my hotel.

Amazing thing was that the next 100 yards was heavily flooded and people were rolling up their trousers and taking off their shoes to go through.

I did same but after about fifty yards the water started getting to my waist line.

At this point I had to take out my phones from my pocket and put them in my shoes.

I finally managed to get through while praying a power line wouldn’t snap and fall into the water. We would have all been fried meat.

At the hotel, it was late dinner, a hot bath and sleep at 2.30 am.

My first day in Calabar? Not what I expected, but I believe it will get better.
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  1. Oga China you try well well,maybe next time you will have to go there with your small Canoe as to help yourself to your hotel,welldone bro's, more grease to your elbow.