My Rwanda Diary… Fight in the Pre-match presser

Just like the long-wait for Eba came to an end, the wait for Day 7, 8, 9 and 10 of My Rwanda Diary is over!

I sincerely apologize to those of you who have been expecting the Day 7 of the diary hitherto. The delay was in no way intentional; it was rather as a result of circumstances beyond my control.

On the eve of Nigeria’s ill-fated clash against Guinea in Rubavu, I had taken bananas and mango. On the early hours of the match day (Tuesday), I started vomiting profusely. And it took the intervention of my neigbhours Julius Okorie of Sporting Life and Enugu State SWAN Chairman Nobert Okoli to douse the situation. Olayinka Elebute would later get me a bottle of stout which helped temporarily but the situation continued even up yesterday morning. As a result, I hardly had the strength to sit down and put this together.

After yesterday’s case, I received my healing following a prayer of agreement with one of my mentors. To God be the glory!

A lot has happened these past four days. From the rigorous trip from Kigali to Rubavu to the Sunday Oliseh’s Press conference outburst to the eventual elimination of the Super Eagles from CHAN and their subsequent cunning departure from Kigali. Eating garri(swallow) is now becoming a regular feature in the hotel. How can I forget a visit to the famous Lake Kivu and how I apparently lost my phone there?


Just as he promised, Nigeria’s acting High Commissioner in Rwanda Ferdinand Nwonye actually provided one coaster bus to take the Sports writers to Rubavu and by 7am that morning, the bus was already parked in our Hotel premises.

The smooth and sometimes scary three-and-half hour trip started about 8am. Hilly landscapes, flowers and trees scattered across both sides of the narrow bends on the road were all on sight from Kigali to Rubavu, a district in Gisenyi. It is also noteworthy that there was no pothole in the course of the journey.

The highlight of the trip was a customary stopover at Nyirangarama; where commuters traveling to or out of Gisenyi usually stop to refresh. Some of the guys in the vehicle likened it to Ore in Ondo State where travelers do a similar thing on their way to or out of Lagos.

We later arrived in Rubavu district and with the aid of a volunteer, Rosemary, a Nigerian who works with the Foreign Ministry, we checked into Stella Maris Catholic Church lodging facility.


Shortly after, the driver graciously took us to Lake Kivu for sight-seeing and left thereafter.

Lake Kivu serves as border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Coincidently, the two countries will clash in the first quarter finals of the 2016 CHAN on Saturday. I can’t wait for the derby.


The main reason we travelled to Rubavu a day before the match against Guinea was to attend the pre-match presser which was earlier scheduled for 11 am and later shifted to 4:30pm.

I arrived the Rubavu stadium early enough for the presser and met the Guinea team training. The quintessential Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam had called me for update from my station, Today 95.1fm in Port Harcourt. Ufuoma also called me and inquired about my location and I told him am inside the stadium.

About 30 minutes later, Kelechi Nkoro @K1Says tweeted that the Press conference was underway.

That was when I realized that I was at the wrong place.

I quickly rushed to the other side of the stadium and after some inquiries; I got to the actual venue. The meeting was almost ending when I arrived. The main event of that presser had taken place already between Oliseh and Ufuoma Egbamuno. Thanks to recording devices, I was able to lay hands on the full drama albeit via audio.

The following question and answer ensued between the pair:

Ufuoma: Good evening coach.

Oliseh: Good evening.

Ufuoma: My name is Ufuoma Egbamuno. I work with Cool FM, Port Harcourt in Nigeria. A couple of days ago, I did speak with the chairman of the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation Chris Green and he actually made a comment. Let me quote him word for word. He said ”you have got this job for as long as you want.”

But I do know from experience that the average football fan is very fickle. Couple of weeks into your appointment, you’re more like the savior of Nigerian football. Two; three months down the line, almost 90% of Nigerian fans were busy calling for your head and all of that.
The question am asking right now is, if for any reason tomorrow you do not get the desired result, how are you going to cope with this and what will be your message to the Nigerian fan?

OLISEH: Well, the good thing about all what you’ve just counted one after the other, who are all false, the good thing is that I live in Nigeria often now.

And your 90% projection of Nigeria is on the contrary. It’s only 10% like you that are on happy with what has been happening.

The way I see it is just like, when we play 13 games and we lost only one, I don’t know where you get your 90% from and I don’t know where you get your unhappy Nigerians from. I have a website that is bombarded with people that are very happy with what we are doing.

We play a brand of football now. Nigeria is associated with that brand of football. And I didn’t know we came here to for a meeting to discuss the future of coach Oliseh.

As far as am concerned, I’m coaching Nigeria and if I get tired, I will leave the work.

We are not begging to coach Nigeria. I’m serving and I’m serving and my coaching crew they all serving under very well.

But one thing I will share is, since you are looking for controversy to sell. I will give you something you will sell: this is the most poorly-equipped technical crew that has ever managed Nigerian Super Eagles even before I started from 1993. And I think the least anybody can do is be grateful for what we are doing.

At this point, the coordinator of the presser who happens to be a Nigerian-Aisha Falode advised the Journalists to limit their questions to ‘’CHAN and CHAN alone.”

Shortly after, the now-heated conference came to an end and Oliseh took his leave.

I vividly remember hearing the Super Eagles media officer Toyin Ibitoye telling the guys not to use ‘’that part.’’ But I didn’t understand ‘’that part” as the incident had happened before my arrival.

The whole scenario was later narrated to me by colleagues and it was time to apportion blames.


On Oliseh

Oliseh reacted too angrily. As a coach, you have to have the ability to control your temper.

He allowed pressure to get the better part of him.

He cast aspersions on Ufuoma by claiming he is looking for negative stories to sell.

On Ufuoma

Even if it is one question that Oliseh was asked, it is enough. There was no need asking him a question he (Ufuoma) said was meant for the next day, simply because Aisha Falode said any more questions?

Ufouma’s claim that 90% of Nigerians were calling for Oliseh’s head, were unfounded.

Ufuoma’s question was largely on the coach’s future aftermath of the game against Guinea. CAF rules on Press Conferences for the 2016 CHAN states that the questions should be limited to only CHAN and the matches under preview or review.

Wetin even concern Barrister Chris Green for that press conference?

The tale of the Press Conference is not over yet. On getting to the Hotel, it was time to start sending reports and the guys said ‘’that part’’ should not be used.

I was still thinking ‘’that part’’ has to do with the Oliseh and Ufuoma wahala so I used the other part where Oliseh said ‘’this is the most poorly-equipped Super Eagles technical crew……”

The headline Chibuogwu gave it (Oliseh lambasts NFF) got many tongues wagging and the attention suddenly shifted from Oliseh and Ufuoma to Emeka Dennar.

Tobi Adepoju, a freelancer with Oganlamedia took it personal and if I had acted like Oliseh, maybe we would have gone physical.

As a matter of fact, NFF’s Media Consultant Toyosi Oyetunji had to coax me into apologizing to Tobi.


It looks like the NFF gave Sunday Oliseh enough conditions to fail. It was gathered that the home-based lads are yet to receive bonuses for their CHAN qualification win over Burkina Faso in October last year till date. It is no longer news that they have not been paid for their daily camping allowance and their bonuses at the 2016 CHAN. Oliseh was quoted as saying, “his players can hardly afford a bottle of coke.”

Training materials from supposed-sponsors, Nike, are always under-supplied. The players washed and wore jerseys in camp.

So, after the loss to the local Syli Nacional, the former Julius Berger midfielder was quick to blame it on lack of motivation. Who won’t?

Some attributed it to his tactics on the day saying his team lacked creativity.

Eagles tactical startlist against Guinea(4-3-3)

I'm not much of a tactical analyst but Oliseh did say he played a high pressing style which failed to yield at some point and his boys broke since they hadn’t the mental and psychological strength to go all the way.

Having said that, it is shocking to see debutants; Guinea eliminate 2014 bronze-medalist from the competition.


While chilling at Lake Kivu on match day, I stepped up to the bridge to take some shots and left my bags behind. On coming back to the banks, I didn’t take notice of any missing phone until I got to the stadium.

After eating, I went back to Lake Kivu to no avail. That’s was how my Nokia torch disappeared in Ruvabu. The most painful part is the contacts there in. I also hid my Glo line underneath the battery. So, I lost both my MTN and Glo lines.

The remedy is that I will retrieve the lines on getting back to Nigeria. How about the phone numbers? Are they retrievable?


After fighting a good battle as it were for the Super Eagles, the Sports Journalists had expected to get a good farewell from the team who left Kigali unceremoniously yesterday.

Information came from Eagles’ Spokesman Toyin Ibitoye that the team will depart Kigali International Airport for Lagos around 2pm local time.

So, around 10am or thereabout, the guys were all getting ready to go and wait for them at the airport.

By the time majority of the Journos got there around 12noon, the Eagles had already checked in and Airport officials did not allow them see the Eagles to the disappointment of many.

At least, they would have gotten interviews from the players and officials.
Worthy of note is that Oliseh did not travel with the team as he headed to Belgium for routine medical check-ups.

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  1. Hmmmn! One at a time.

    I've advised u about food, but u no dey gree hear! Now u don see am abi? "He that swallows a pestle will sleep while standing"! Mango & Banana? Who eats that? Hian!

    Bia! Emeka, I hope u guys did not go to Rwanada to fall our hands o? Which one be 'no potholes'? Make I hear am sey Rwanda (Kigali) fine pass/beta pass Nigeria (Abuja)! If I hear!

    Now, why do u keep losing ur way to the press conferences? U're always at the wrong place? Na wah o!

    Finally, money was said to have been released for the boys, whoever sat on it should be prosecuted for being a saboteur!

    Nevertheless, the boys could have reasoned accordingly & put their careers 1st, even ahead of the nation. The fighting spirit of 9ja was non-existent. They gave up far too easily. Too bad!

    *Ghanaman signing out*

  2. Bia Emeka even after transcribing my question you still accuse me of asking about the coach's future? Abi na another thing I ask? I asked him how he would cope if he had a bad result and what would be his message to the fans. Abi no be wetin you write? Hian!