My Calabar diary

I really wished I could have arrived in Calabar in time for the press parley with the Super Eagles.

That would have given me a chance to get up close and personal with the players, coaches and other non-technical staff at a period they were still a bit relaxed and did not have their game faces on.

Apparently I work for people and they determine where I go, when I go and my conduct when I get there so if the bosses insisted on Thursday, then it had to be.

Making contingency plans

I had to send my midget (I wonder why it is called midget), voice recorder, or dictation machine, depending on which one you want to call it ahead of me to an intern who lives in the town, got her email address, mailed questions to ask specific players and after speaking with her twice on the phone I was sure my absence in Calabar would be just physical.

But arriving in Calabar was different.

Alongside Benson Clement of Radio Nigeria we set off as early in the morning as possible.  We didn't want to be stuck for three hours at Eleme on the outskirts of Port Harcourt where I heard the road was very bad.

To Calabar with love

Reading the bible back in Sunday school, when Philip preached to the Ethiopian Eunuch, he talked about water baptism and as they road into town, there was a stream at the side of the road.

The Eunuch asked Philip, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptised (Acts 8: 36). Then the Eunuch was baptised by Philip.

As we alighted at the MCC junction in Calabar, I sighted a restaurant with tables all laid out and I screamed out to Benson, See! There's a table all laid out. What prevents us from going to try out the food."

And of course we had the first meal

And after that we tried to get settled only find out Benson left his "Take away" food pack he had paid for right there in the restaurant so we turned all the way back.

Colourful Ethiopians

At this point we encountered the Ethiopians and decided to stop by at their hotel to mingle.

There were so many of them, a number later confirmed to be ninety but most, though friendly "refused" to talk.

"Oh we just go to our rooms and come back after ten minutes."

"Ten minutes. I promise."

"We want to talk with you but ten minutes."

At this point I was convinced they were told that the easiest English words to say in Nigeria were, "give me ten minutes."

Chatted to a fellow called Tesfaye Yoseph who was a member of the Ethiopian Football Association, EFA who confirmed that they have about forty members of their supporters' club including three performing artistes.

He also told me that they lost in Addis Ababa because they made two mistake and they were going to force Nigeria to make similar mistakes so they can win.

Eagles on lock down

I did not bother to go watch the Eagles train because it had been announced it won't be open to the press, but at 7.30 pm I stepped out to their hotel to hook up with Calvin Emeka Onwuka of Supersport who was in town for the game.

I also thought I could see a few players and coaches too but Keshi, I was told had put his game face on.

Spoke with Bright Dike who was very excited to be part of the Eagles again, Gabriel Rueben who had no fears he had lost his place in the team because of his long absence due to injuries.

Ahmed Musa would not talk. According to him, not until after the game.

I didn't bother with Mikel Obi. What's the point of embarking on a venture that will fail anyway?

John Ogu invited us over and he was holed up somewhere with Brown Ideye, Chigozie Agbim and Azubuike Egwueke and after about half an hour with them, it was time to move on.

Interviews done, show hypes and shout outs done and we were out.

Chatted a while with Ike Shorumu whom I'd known personally since his time as goalkeeper coach with Dolphins in 2005 and again in 2007.

Back to my hotel room it was time to edit the audio clips I had, send some to the office for the radio show and then write some for my blog which I did until 2am.

I still had the Super Eagles to watch in the morning and of course the visit to the Ethiopians at their hotel.

No rest for the peaceful,

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