Calabar Diary: Accreditation can't be rocket science

Just in case I am stranded at the hotel and can't find a way to the stadium on my next trip to Calabar, blame me for my negligence.

Ever since I got into town on Thursday, I got help from an ally, Christian Anozie @Tijochris who helped out with accommodation and transportation.

In fact he provided a chauffeur driven vehicle to take me where ever I wanted to go and the driver, Godwin had been a very nice fellow but in all of these I forgot to mention them in my first diary of Calabar.

I hope Godwin doesn't read my blog or else, I will have no one to take me to Atimbo for dog porridge tonight.

Last time out with the Eagles

After I awoke  and wrote my day 1 diary I had my morning ritual of a cuppa tea and it was time to see the Eagles train for the last time before the big game so it was off to the Stadium for me.

I thought Keshi was working his boys on playing from the wings because they had a thirty or more minutes routine of working the ball from the center of defence to the middle of the pitch and then long ball down to the wings where the winger out ran his marker and crossed for a center forward.

That happened over and over again.

Then after some other drills he split them into two sides and they played for about 20 or more minutes before the session was called off.

I sighted my twitter friend, Dare Art Alade, @darey getting high on the fact that fans were drooling over him and he was doing all the TV interviews so when the crowd had died down I went to say hello.

Dare said he was in Calabar for an event and came over to support the Eagles and also to see his friend Daniel Amokachi.

I also sighted my friend from Port Harcourt, Pastor Idah Peterside who also told me he was in Calabar to support his country and didn't want to stay back in South Africa and miss the whole celebrations.

Idah reiterated that the Eagles will play in the World Cup semi finals.

After the session Stephen Keshi took time to answer questions from the press and he spoke about how important the game is to him because "every game is important to me."

He also spoke on Omeruo and Rueben who are returning to the team after long spells out injured.

Keshi said he was/is happy with the progress they have made so far.

Funny, a chap asked Keshi, "Is this your last training session?"

The look on Keshi's face remains epic till this moment.

Keshi looked up and asked him, "Where do you work?"

The rest is history.

Ethiopians disappoint

After speaking to the Ethiopian delegation leader, Tesfaye Yoseph on the day of their arrival and he said we could come for the interviews.

However, the previously friendly Ethiopians changed and they wouldn't let anyone speak, not even their fans.

Shina Okeleji of the BBC, Lekan from Associated Press, myself, Benson Clement from Radio Nigeria and a few other journos left in anger.

They assured us we could talk with them at their training session later in the day when they train at 4pm.

Checking out with the Port Harcourt people

As soon as my colleagues from Port Harcourt began to arrive like @pointmancarl, Peter Abaje from Ray Power, Tonye Orabere from the Tide and three others I moved out of my hotel that didn't have enough rooms for them.

We decided to stay at the same place and after settling down in the new place, we were off to the stadium to watch the Ethiopians train.

Not long after they started training, some of their officials began to grumble that there were too many Nigerians watching them and they subtly asked us all to leave the main bowl which we eventually did.

The Ethiopian fans however made a glorious entrance to the stadium, singing fan songs and taking pictures with those who cared.


With that out of the way, it was time to wait a few minutes for accreditation that was to start at 5pm.

After waiting until 6pm, word came in that NFF's chief media officer, Ademola Olajire had moved it to 8pm.

Some journalists left in anger, others grumbled and still stayed back.

At a quarter to eight, the stadium manager comes to us saying we have to vacate the stadium as they were going to turn off the power generating set soon.

Indeed the lights went out and we were forced to leave the stadium without our accreditation or knowing where Ademola Olajire was.

We stopped by to grab dinner when I got a call from Calvin Onwuka that Olajire was in town and wanted to meet us at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel but between my location and the hotel, the venue had changed to the Squash courts of the U. J. Esuene Stadium.

That was the only "room" at the stadium that had a small "I pass my neighbour" generator running but while in the process of accreditation, the generator was turned off and we had to complete the process via lights from our mobile phones.

At the end of the session, all tired out, we retired to the hotel but spent time at the lobby having the funniest of meals while watching the last ten minutes of the game between Portugal and Sweden.

What was the meal? Bread, beer, Coca Cola and water.

We all ate the bread and between myself, Carl, Nduka, Peter and Benson the choice is yours to guess who drank the beer, cola or water.

But the bread was freshly baked though.


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