Wednesday was a great day, for me and every one that came to Morocco from Nigeria.
Reasons for our happiness may differ. For some, it means more dollars, for some, it means more freebies but what united us in the happiness is Eagles’ hard earned victory.
Getting taxis to the stadium especially in this Marrakech is always more difficult than the proverbial camel passing through the needle’s eye. We were to attend the team’s team walk at 1pm but by the time myself, Tobi Adepoju and Amos Joseph had spent over 30 minutes looking for taxi, we decided to return to our hotel and prepare for the game instead.
So we did, ate rice and stew with boiled chicken (my spec as I don’t like roasted ones), drank enough tea and got on our way to the Stadium at around 4:15pm.
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The CHAN Free bus which conveys fans to the Stadium leaves the Gare de Train (Train Station) at 5pm so we planned to join the bus.
Well, we were wrong, we stayed over 30 minutes again without getting a taxi so we had to return to the hotel, asked our Hotel Manager to help us call a taxi which he kindly obliged.
So we got to the Stadium about two hours before the game and I met, for the first time, my Moroccan friend Amine El Amri. He’s been of great help to me even before I left Nigeria. He’s been covering games at Agadir and Marrakech centres and we planned on meeting when we come to Marrakech.
I took a trip round the tunnel and dressing room areas to have a further look at the facility because my ‘special’ tag affords me such privilege. I loved it, I saw that it was the same template used for the Agadir Stadium.
Like I mentioned in one of my earlier diaries, accredited journalists always gather at the Media Centre at half time for refreshments. Cakes, Samosa, Bread, Burger, Chocolates, Coffee, Tea et al, but yesterday, it was something extra: a buffet.
Well, I was excited it was going to be a buffet, thinking about Rice, Beans, Eba, Amala already but I got to the rude awakening that I’m in Europe (as we popularly refer to Morocco here).
I sha put everything inside my plate, both bitter and sweet. All I could recognise were some Macaroni and Chicken. Colleagues later told me of Olive – the bitter ones apparently and I had plenty of them, see my life – I’m local like that.
We ate because we knew the journey was still long. The journey of 45 minutes on the pitch. Well, thank Goodness we saw it out.
It was yet again a nail-biting contest and the joy of we Nigerian journalists knew no bounds at the blast of the final whistle. Noticing that there were hardly Nigerian fans in the stadium, Nigerian journalists (including Yours Sincerely) rented the air with our chants of “O se, O se o, O se o, O se Baba.”
Nigerian fans… erm journalists celebrating the win vs Sudan #CHAN2018 @FisayoDairo @BBC_NickCavell pic.twitter.com/t9PV03z9K3
— Amine El Amri (@Amine_Elamri) January 31, 2018
From there, we proceeded to the technical area (sideline of the pitch) where we took selfies with Gernot Rohr as we wait for the players who were singing and praying at the centre circle.
We welcomed them with our hugs and embrace. Everyone was happy.
@NGSuperEagles emerging from the pitch after the game.
Singing praises to their God. #YourSportsMemo #SUDNGA#TotalCHAN2018 pic.twitter.com/vf3sZtfTPP
— ACLSports (@acl_sports) January 31, 2018
After the post-match press conference, I went back to my hotel (well some went to the Eagles hotel for more celebrations) but work aplenty awaits me so, best to work, eat and rest ahead of Thursday’s movement to Casablanca.
A joyful day it was. ALOHA